life in and around NYC is insane

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Delicate Balance

(cross posted at Midcentury Modern Moms)

Sometimes I walk a tightrope, trying to maintain a delicate balance between "helicopter mom" and letting my daughter learn from her own mistakes.

My daughter Jen is 19 and a sophomore in college.  She attends school in New England, about a 4 hour drive from our home here on Long Island. When she was in high school and living at home, I was able to see how she handled her school work, whether she was studying and doing her homework, and I would get report cards and interim reports and all sorts of feedback from her teachers.  I could "make" her do her homework or study for the big test, I could intervene if she ran into a problem with a teacher.  Now that she's in college, however, and miles away from home, there's really very little I can do. As she keeps reminding me, she's an "adult" now,  responsible for her own schoolwork.

So if I see red flags, there's very little I can do.

She came home for weekends several times this semester, and never brought home a book.   She missed a few classes, but told me it wasn't a problem, she'd make up the work.  She came home just before finals (we attended a family event) and I never saw her study.  If I said something about it, she told me not to worry, that everything was "fine" and she was on track for doing well in all her classes.

Fall semester ended just before Christmas.  When I asked Jen how she thought she did, she was evasive.  When I asked her if she got her grade report on line, she was evasive.  It turns out that her grades are not where she wanted them to be, and now she has to rethink her coursework for next semester and her plans for next year.  I must admit I am angry and upset with her for doing this to herself. 

Herself.  Yes, that's the operative word.  She didn't do this to me, she did it to herself.    And she's the one who will have to deal with the consequences.

College is a learning environment, isn't it?  And not all of the lessons are academic.  I can only hope she learns from this mistake.

1 comment:

Joyce-Anne said...

You are so right, she did this to herself. Jen is a smart girl and I'm sure she'll learn from this experience.

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