Hello parents, and greetings from the UAS Middle School!!!
During the past couple of weeks, as I have been going about my “business” as the Principal of our awesome MS, I have been frequently reminded that our kids are not perfect. Don’t get me wrong, I feel very fortunate to work at the Universal American School, and every day I am reminded of how lucky I am to work with you and your children. That said, kids by their very nature are lovable imperfect beings. I know this for a fact, because just like you, I too was once a kid.
While pondering this notion that kids are in fact human: and impulsive, and the fact they don’t come with a set of easy to use instructions, I stumbled upon this intriguing article in a publication called, “Parenting Without a Parachute”. I truly hope you enjoy this piece as much as I did.
“Even Good Kids Make Bad Choices” – by Crystal Intine Alperin
I always imagined that as a mother I would develop some kind of bad kid radar that would go off inside my head every time one of those kids came near my child, like a faint buzzing sound or the click of handcuffs. While I never really did develop the bad kid radar – I guess you need to be bitten by a bad kid to develop it – I spent years encouraging my children to be friends with certain kids while discouraging friendships with others.
I was convinced that if I could surround my kids with these seemingly perfect children that they would be safe and perfect, too. One weekend phone call, and everything I arrogantly thought I knew about parenthood and parenting was proven wrong.
A dear friend called me and in a tear-filled conversation confessed she caught her child doing something very, very wrong. My friend’s son, only three years older than my oldest child, is a good kid, a great kid, the kind of kid that you would meet and then tell someone else that you hoped your child would turn out to be exactly like him. And my friend is a great mom. Her children are older than mine, and I’ve emulated her parenting style for as long as I’ve been a parent.
While her heart-breaking sobs poured from her soul into mine, an overwhelming fear filled my mother’s heart. If it could happen to her child, how will I ever protect mine?
My kids are older now, and I am having a difficult time reconciling their continual need for independence and time with their peers with my need to snuggle with them on the couch like I did when they were toddlers. My oldest daughter started high school this fall, and my second child started middle school. As much as I prefer to live in denial and pretend that nothing bad will ever happen to my children because I’ve raised them with rules and boundaries, my friend’s experience forced me to confront the following reality:
- Good kids sometimes make bad decisions.
- Good kids raised in beautiful homes with wonderful, supportive, loving parents make mistakes too.
I can vividly remember my adolescence. Sure, I like to pretend that I was a perfect child, a perfect teen, but I wasn’t. I made A LOT of mistakes.
My parents were great parents, strict parents, and I attended an excellent, expensive private school, but if my parents told me not to hang out with a certain group of kids, those kids became my new best friends. And even though my parents warned me about the dangers of certain behaviors, I still experimented with many of them, sometimes even in my own home – just because I was mischievous.
As my own parents did for me, I have given my children the very best foundation I believe I am capable of giving them, but ultimately they will walk out my front door. Their successes, mistakes, stumbles and major mistakes are theirs alone. And this terrifies me.
As much as I want to wrap my children in bubble-wrap and pretend that my parenting is a gigantic force-field surrounding them as they enter the world, the truth is that they will make their own decisions and have to live with the positive and negative consequences of those decisions. My own children will make mistakes. They might even choose to do something which I have explicitly told them not to do. And at a certain point, there is really nothing I can do about it.
However, I can provide a safe place to come home to when they get hurt. I can provide my mother’s arms to comfort, my mother’s heart to forgive and my mother’s intelligence to seek any help that my children may need. Raising children is not for the meek nor the naive. And I shall plead with the universe for strength and courage.
In the meantime, I will try to find more teaching moments during our day to use as specific examples of good and bad behaviors. I will spend more time alone with each child and find unique ways to connect with them as their interests change. And after they fall asleep, I will try not to sneak into their rooms, scoop their awkward, gangly bodies into my arms and sing to them. It will be difficult, but I will limit myself to a quick forehead kiss.
Has your child ever really messed up? How did you handle it? How did it change your parenting style?
I sincerely hope you found this article helpful and informative. The truth is, I wasn’t perfect when I was a kid, why should I/we expect our kids to be perfect now? An intriguing question to ask, but clearly a very difficult question to answer. Thanks for listening. Important Dates and Activities:
Important Dates and Activities:
Principals Coffee: Date and topic(s) to be determined. Please stay tuned.
March 6-9: Annual KHDA inspection
March 15: International Day
March 16: NO School for students – Professional Development day for teachers
March 23: Last day of quarter #3
March 24 – April 8: Spring Break
April 9: Day 1 of quarter #4
Until our paths cross again, please take good care, and please remember, Middle School students matter!! May peace be upon you.