Some people criticize my willingness to drive my children to and from school. (Fyi. I have two children in high school and two younger ones that are now home schooled). The argument is they should learn to be independent, responsible, hard working etc. I agree completely that there are benefits to a child making their way home on their own at the appropriate age. Yet even though I know there are benefits I still choose to pick my children up more times than not.
I too question my need to be their chauffeur. I must say that I didn’t always do this but this has been a new development since my separation from their father. Hmm, that’s probably food for thought right there. Well actually I should add I would have always picked them up and drop them off but I was advised against it by ex before, but since the cat is away…..
When I think it over, I know I have had a privilege that parents who aren’t able to drive their children may not know. I know my children’s friends. (It is true the saying show me your friends and I will show you who you are, or at least its who you desire to be) I know where these friends live. I know how they dress, I know how they behave (especially when there are no teachers or parent watching). Even as they grow I see the difference in their character and behavior over time. Yes other parents may have this opportunity too but my theory is the more we understand our children and their choices in friends the better.
My daughter can not easily trick me into what she wants me to believe about her friends. Nope, because I have already evaluated them, and not only them, but also their parents as well. I know that sounds weird but I am sure other parents have done the same to me as well.
Yes one may argue a child needs to choose their friends and make their own choices and again I agree, but within limits of course. Don’t get me wrong I do not choose my children’s friends. Well not entirely, I have tried to get them to change one or two here and there and usually to no avail, they seem to have to make that decision on their own, unfortunately.
But the benefit I have experienced in picking them up is that it allows me to be more aware of their world at school. I see the trends in clothing, hair styles etc. I have not chosen my children’s friends but I have been able to give advise based off what I have observed. The key to giving advise is to be cautious remembering that this is your child’s friend. So I may point out to my daughter that her friend’s outfits may be much too revealing for my liking. In doing this it reinforces to my daughter my stance on fashion but also allows her the opportunity to evaluate for herself. Mind you, in critiquing the outfit I am not quick to put a judgement on the child only on their choice in clothing.
I must say though that when they walk home they do develop endurance especially when trekking through our Canadian weather. And I notice that it also helps me to see where they are at developmentally as well. For example, before my children would have to pass the park to get home. How long they would linger at the park showed me how responsible, and disciplined they were or weren’t.