Week 10: We run our peak long run distance, then start tapering
Until my Dad passed away at the age of 93, he would always say to me (when I would raise many of your concerns Terrell) “Once a parent, always a parent.” Yes, we will always want to protect our children from harm but “Life” has a way of teaching them the hard lessons whether we are there or not. My Dad seldom let me pay for his meals, as he always felt “love & duty bound” to feed his children even after we became adults. He said, “It was his job”. I feel the same...right or wrong. Yes, I do the best I can with my “head” but my “heart” usually gets the last word when it comes to our children and grandchildren!
My two cents: if your kid asks for help, help your kid. They rarely want you to intervene, they mostly want comfort, so if they do ask for your intervention take it seriously. If you don’t help with small things they won’t come to you with big things; they will assume your answer will be no.
our parents’ generation prided themselves on neglecting us. Look at how bullying was portrayed in 1980s movies! Kids got WALLOPED at school then whipped at home for getting beat up at school! No one ever intervened! That generation judged their parenthood by openly discussing the times they refused to help us. This is why you are wrestling with your instinct not to intervene. I teach courses begging parents to un-learn that instinct before their kids come to me needing help (I advocate for middle school and high school survivors of IPV and SA).
Yeah, it's a question I constantly ponder over. I notice sometimes adults too (with issues) act mean with a child when they think they won't be stopped. I think there its important to step up for the child.
Also depends on how old the child is. A 9 year old may be left to figure. A 2 year old can't be.
Great writing Terrell. I'm constantly learning from all you guys & serving better content on my own substack.
It’s hard learning to be a parent while still navigating being a child of my parents. I had a very close relationship with my parents to the extent that they were a part of my daily life and lived with my family until a few years ago. My boys who are 20 and 15 spent most of their lives observing how I interacted with my parents. They learned that it was possible to show a high level of respect to parents but also lean in on them as a trusted mentor. I lost my Dad at the start of the pandemic unexpectedly and it crushed my world! It left me wondering if I was ready to truly be an independent person without him around. I leaned in on my Dad for everything, he was my best friend. It’s now almost 3 years later and I was so blessed to have my boys observe me be a child to my parents as well as their mother. My boys have a lot of respect for their parents and grandparents. They listen to the advice and guidance we give them similar to how I learned from my parents. There are times they choose not to follow the advice/guidance and that is ok too. I want them to form their own opinions and learn for themselves. The most important lesson I’ve learned is to be a patient parent and be there for my boys when they need to lean in on me. My Dad told me it was hard for him to “let me move forward with my own decisions or pathway” but he knew it was the only way I would learn important life lessons. I’m hopeful that my boys will continue to lean in on me throughout their life journey like I did with my Dad up until the day he passed away. My parents prepared me to be the best parent I could be to my boys and I’m forever grateful for that!
Being a parent is the hardest and most wonderful thing in the world and ever changing! One thing I am working on as a parent is not just forgiveness, but looking towards problems with a sense of curiosity and focus on repair. Like when I don’t show up as the parent I want to be, how do I repair/mend that broken moment? Asking for forgiveness (ie saying sorry) is not bad, but it doesn’t modify. I’m trying to work on focusing that same energy I may have used on saying sorry on repair. For example when my kid was reprimanded at school for not listening, I tried to be curious about why they weren’t listening and repairing. I spent this past weekend slowing down to see what was distracting them and making it hard for them to listen.
It’s not perfect, but when has a run ever been perfect? Running and parenting is full of hills, bodily functions, and beautiful moments too.
If anyone hasn’t told you lately, you’re a great parent Terrell!
First off, I LOVE the LotR reference, grew up with those books, have read them multiple times and, just recently with the new show, have been reading them again.
With two kids, nearing 26 & 24, it was always a dilemma and never one that neither my wife nor I felt good about. I also love the Jurassic Park reference with John Hammond - learning to let them stumble, make mistakes and grow still is difficult. Growing up, and with a large family [1 of 9] we all quickly learned to be independent and, while I say my parents daily, you're right, never felt like they were part of the day-to-day!
Great topic, it's made me reminisce about growing up- never a bad thing.
My daughter and son are now 24 & 21, so I write with the gratification they turned out pretty darn great & healthy, and we have a close relationship. When they were school age, I gave them a lot of independence. I’d go on my runs and leave them home alone for 1 -2 hours (they could get help from the neighbors in case of emergency if they couldn’t reach me), or with my husband doing his thing while they played in their own. I was blessed to live a half mile from their school, so I trusted them to walk to & from school with other neighborhood buddies. I went back to work full time for several years, so they had to navigate (with the help of other adults) after-school care. I did not sacrifice my weekend long run time for them, even when they got into sports & needed to be driven to games; I’d arrange carpools as much as possible, and I did not hover on the sidelines of every single game as so many parents do. As they grew, I tried to be their loving consultant more than their manager, and I never did for them what they should be able to do on their own (such as homework or make breakfast) unless they truly needed help. Too many parents micromanage for sure!
Very thoughtful piece. I’ve raised three absolutely amazing children who are all strong, independent amazing adults. As a working mom, I was never a helicopter mother and I let my children navigate life on their own, telling them if they ever had a problem, they could come to me. Each one did at some point and after listening to their concerns, I gave them the following options: one, they could try to handle it on their own (usually it was an issue with a classmate that could be addressed with their teacher); or, two, I could go with them to discuss the matter; or, third option, I could go address the matter on their behalf. One of my daughters at age 10 had me go with her to see her teacher. My son at age 4 asked me to speak to his teacher on my own for him. Other than these and maybe a couple other times I’ve now forgotten, my kids handled their problems on their own. (My son recently told me about an incident when he was 7 that I never knew about — a trip to the principal’s office where he received licks for something that he didn’t do. I would have been very upset with the injustice and especially with the corporal punishment, which is probably why he didn’t tell me 14 years ago.)
This is difficult. My kids are older, 20 and 17, and I’m in a perpetual inner-struggle about how much “guidance” they need. When I have to stick my nose in, it’s done out of love. I try to frame it as: “I think you’re doing this wrong, and I would do it this way, but it’s your decision.” If they go the way I suggest (the common sense way), I win because I was able to get them to see my point of view. If they go their way, I win because they have learned to be independent of me (as difficult as it is for me!). Win-win, but always fraught with worry.
So good! Great post, Terrell!
Did you coin this term "Goldilocks Parenting"? Or is it in the world with us?
I love the concepts here. And my own relationship with my 9-yr-old daughter.
Love the article, Terrell. I have no idea what you are talking about! There was no digital in my life until the computer came around some 3O some years ago. I can pretty much count on my hands the movies I saw. My kid was home-schooled and was a voracious reader of--you guess it--books. School conflicts did not exist. Since my husband "had to have a computer and the latest" my kid was drawn into it. I can't say it was a good thing. Prior to that, if something puzzled me that she would ask, I'd say "look it up" or we would do it together--there was always the library, even though it was 30 miles away. There was little computer help. Of course, when you live on the desert with carrying water and little if no electricity or plumbing, it is different.
Before that, 70 or some years ago, us 6 kids learned a lot from my parents. People would probably think we were poor, but not so. As kids, we could ask anything. We were turned outside to explore or inside to play with real toys--and study. Dad took us for walks. We raided the dump, climbed mountains, apple trees and fed cows and horses, gardened and weeded, learned how to skin beaver and muskrat--too many things to remember. Mom was always too busy taking care of kids (me, too!) and cooking or sewing. No TV or phones, even though this was the 50s and 60s. We excelled at school and all of us were valedictorians, which was expected. We went to the funnies at movies that cost 25 cents once in a while. . . Bugs Bunny as i remember
I do worry about how protected the children are today. Seems like they live ensconced in pillows. The kids and people, though are now meaner nowadays and it must take more thought. Interesting article, though, and shows you really care about your children! :) Hope he turns out well, 9 years old can be tough! :)