What is good parenting?

caged-bird

As I plug along writing on my next projects, I had to stop today to think about the other thing in my life that fulfills me and makes life worth living.  My daughter. She’s currently twelve years old, attending 7th grade. For basically all of her life it’s been just her and me; I left her father when she was two years old, because we simply weren’t compatible. Even though I’m in a relationship now, it’s still pretty much me who has the parenting relationship with her. She’s an excellent student, caring person, and very creative in writing, just like me.

I guess it’s where we’re so similar that I have the biggest problems in knowing how to guide her. She’s a loner as I was at her age, but at least I had siblings to play with, and neighborhood friends. I think our children these days are overprotected, and it robs them of a lot of things my generation took for granted. Sure there was danger when I rode my bike around the neighborhood–especially since one of my favorite things to do was to explore houses being built in our subdivision, so I was wandering around construction sites with various hazards, including open pits. (My sister almost fell in one and gashed her leg on a nail sticking up–she ended up needing stitches).  But it was adventurous, and it made me adventurous, able to take risks and think for myself. I look at my daughter, who is great in school, but terrible if I ask her to solve a problem outside the classroom. She’s been confined to a neat little box, and she doesn’t know how to function outside of that.

Anybody else have that problem with their kids?

In the end, I’m faced with a dilemma. Do I just let my child be the introvert, keep tot he safety of her books and her computer? Or do I force her out of her shell, make her go outside and meet others in the neighborhood, make her come up with other things to do? My partner wants me to have my daughter limit her time with her grandparents who live close by, because they become like her best friends. Is that the answer? Are we as parents responsible for fixing some of the imbalances we see in our children?  Or simply for nurturing them for what they are, strengths and weaknesses alike?

It’s a tough question for which I currently don’t have an answer.

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