The two obstacles that parents struggle with have to do with what seems to be an ever-increasing difficulty with letting go and a disinclination to truly look at themselves. In her book, Nation of Wimps, Hara Marano intimates that even the “Helicopter” parent has been replaced by the “Snowplow” or even the “Curling” parent. (I love that imagery!) Parents’ ongoing efforts to block or impede the natural process of adolescent growth are severely compromising our future as a society. Naturally, it hampers our work at Hyde School.
The second obstacle is a result of the intense pressure we parents feel “to have it all together.” Ours is an achievement and success culture and that includes parenting. Hence, Hyde parents (especially the Dads!) typically feel compelled to present themselves as beacons of strength, unfazed by life’s challenges. One basic problem with this is the simple fact that it’s a lie. After all, if we’re honest, all of us are fazed every day.
As a parent of two Hyde graduates, I came to realize that my façade of impenetrable “confidence” caused my daughters to erroneously conclude, “Dad seems to have it together in every situation. I know I don’t have it together in every situation. Therefore, there must be something wrong with me. I will best keep that to myself.” In other words, my children were doing the same thing that I was doing. Once I became honest about my fears and my worries, especially the fact that I have a tendency to worry a lot, it gave them permission to feel normal about their everyday fears, and we then helped each other in an open fashion.
Next Up: 2 Faculty Obstacles
Onward, Malcolm Gauld