The title of this blog needs a little explaining. Why “watching the rollercoaster”? Parents are all aware of the rollercoaster that is raising kiddos. It’s all about the ups and the downs. The screams of joy and terror. And a fair amount of throwing up along the way.
As I am facing the task of my kiddo entering the teenage years, I am becoming more frightened of this next evolution of the rollercoaster. I could handle the circular mine car coaster, that went slightly faster than I could walk. I could even handle the kiddie coasters at the State Fair. Stomach churning, but no flips. But soon, I will face the Corkscrews of teenage years. Yikes.
This blog will focus on three main areas: ADHD/Mental Health, Gender Issues, and “kids and technology”. All areas that I live in every single day. When I talk with friends about these topics, sometimes it feels like they think I am not being as supportive as I should be. This is particularly true of the “gender” stuff. And while I can admit that my support level has not always been consistent in the past, I can also say with confidence that there is as difference between watching the rollercoaster and RIDING it. If I chose to ride it with my kiddo, I would not be able to be as objective, because then I am in the “thick of it”. Riding the rollercoaster means using a level of empathy that could strip me of my parenting tools (which are mostly held together with duct tape and hope). I argue that the best way for me to support my kiddo through ADHD, Gender Issues, and Technology Usage is by ACTIVELY watching the rollercoaster. Being there every step of the way, but from an objective viewpoint, so I can help manage the joys and terrors of what that ride is during the teenage years, and beyond.
This is what support looks like to me. It’s not helicopter parenting, where I over-see every move through life, to ensure success and happiness when reaching adulthood. But it’s also not the hands-off approach of many parents that feel the best way to let a kid figure things out, is to set them free to figure things out. I’m trying to find the middle way in this. And that is what it means to me to “watch the rollercoaster”. It’s not passive, it’s not easy, and it’s not going to stop…ever. But when my kiddo feels out of control, I will be here to provide support. Through every single twist and turn.