Discussion // Don’t Beat Yourself Up Over Parenting

FLTW If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie
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I have never completely shielded my two children from the outside world. In my very raw, open upbringing, I valued being told the truth and having honest information shared. I carried this value into my own two children’s lives and raised them in the most honest setting I could give. Sure, there are topics that as a parent I made judgment calls on; things that maybe they didn’t need to know of or shouldn’t know about, but for the most part, I have tried to be honest and open about how life will most definitely throw curveballs.

My goal with (in some instances) over-sharing was so that my children were not afraid and that they respected everything that life had to offer, even if it meant falling down a few times before understanding how to truly climb. But, today, in my life-long challenge of raising two prepared kids is that everything I was moving towards may have backfired a little bit – with some help along the way.

At 19, my son is active in producing music and has co-produced for upcoming musicians featured on BBC One music channel for electronic house music. But, for his accomplishment in music, he:

  • does not have a driver’s license and refuses to get one because he’s afraid to drive.
  • does not like going out into large groups of people and will not attend shows.
  • and, in general, prefers to stay in instead of going on family outings or to dinners.

Not huge things, but can be very difficult when trying to build a career when you have to be around large groups of people.

At 14, my daughter is active with art and the local art community, and has just started an artisan soap company. She is definitely the more social of the two and will venture out with groups and friends. Even with her more social nature, she prefers to attend our state’s virtual academy for school because she feels “safer” at home (having been bullied before) and always checks the sex offender registry before deciding to go over to a friend’s house for the first time.

My two kids, both raised in the same house, same structure – everything the same – in my opinion have two varying views on life. My son has fear; my daughter, awareness. And this is why I say my parenting style may have backfired. I shared because I wanted my kids to learn from me, truthfully, instead of the TV, mouthy friends, and magazine top-10 lists.

As parents, we only want the best for our children. A perfect plan for how they will be raised, grow and develop. As I’ve learned with my two kids, plans sometimes fall through and even our best intentions have to be adjusted. Parenting is not easy and sometimes we might screw up, but it’s OK! It’s not easy, but that is why it’s so rewarding.

This post was inspired by the novel If I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie, about a boy who’s never been outside, thanks to his mother’s agoraphobia, but ventures outside in order to solve a mystery. Join From Left to Write on January 22nd as we discuss If I Fall, If I Die. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.