Making it up as I go along

I’m not quite sure when I became old enough to be the parent of a teenager. Let alone the parent of a teenager who is about to embark on his GCSEs. Oh. My. Godfathers.

Piece of chalk and blackboard

My baby boy is in the process of choosing his ‘options’ for his GCSEs and of course, I can’t quite get my head around the whole thing. My little first-born. My only son. It only felt like yesterday that I was bringing him home from hospital and

But it’s true.

This feels like such a huge milestone. And I’m not all that good with huge milestones if I’m being completely honest. It’s always so bittersweet. It’s that whole amazing pride thing that I get from seeing them grow into Real Live Humans that I have managed to keep in (just about) one piece up until now but at the same time, I’m left wondering where the hell my baby has gone.

As parents, we have always tried to strike that really hard balance between not being so completely laid back that they get away with blue murder but not those incredibly pushy parents either. I hope we have been somewhere around the middle. Although I do worry that as I don’t have a pushy parent bone in my body that maybe I have been too laid back. I honestly don’t know. Our motto has always gone along the lines of we only ever expect them to try their best. We just want them to try their very hardest and their good, is good enough for us. And we truly and honestly mean that. I remember my son starting school and beginning to learn how to read. I used to shrink away from the many pushy parents comparing what reading level their little protégée was on that week and would quietly marvel in the simple fact that he was beginning to read at all and of course the absolute joy that he took from it.

But let’s be honest here, I’m sorry but with your eldest child you are quite simply making it up as you go along. I just can’t help but worry that all of my parenting fails for the best part of fourteen years are about to catch me up somehow. Maybe I have got it all completely wrong giving him nothing more than gentle encouragement and praise for all of these years. Maybe I should have been more pushy. I don’t know. I’m not even sure I would know how to be a pushy parent.

At this huge milestone, I want to be able to guide him but at the same time I hope that he will be able to make his own decisions too. But at the moment, I am struggling not to take over completely through the complete fear of how him taking the wrong options now, will impact on the rest of his education, nay life. But I know that I have to trust that he is able to take these options for himself, albeit with support from us at home and of course from his teachers at school.

This parenting lark doesn’t get any easier the older they get, does it? Give me sleepless nights and a teething baby over this any day!

9 thoughts on “Making it up as I go along

  1. Louise says:

    It sounds to me as though you have the perfect attitude towards parenting. I don’t think being pushy gets you anywhere. Although as someone who made the wrong decision when choising my GCSE options, I would strongly advise that you get very proactive in helping him to pick the right subjects. I wish my parents had been less trusting with me! Subjects kids enjoy tend to be the ones they succeed most in but given the choice most teens will probably pick the easy options or the ones their friends are going to be in. Just as long as you agree that his options match up with what he wants to pursue career wise, then you will have succeeded without actually choosing for him. I don’t envy your situation but as always you sound as though your parenting skills will see you have no trouble! Best of luck x

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  2. Dawn Carter says:

    That sounds exactly like me! After much deliberating, DD chose the subjects she enjoyed! Now, we’re at the same point again, only this time it’s for her A Levels! It’s never-ending! I’m sure were doing a just perfect job! x

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  3. Zoe says:

    My eldest has just chosen his GCSE options and I was shocked that he had got that old! Like you we can only make it up as we go along but I think we’re doing an ok job and was really pleased with the choices he made. Whislt my husband & I offered some guidance it was his choice. I’m sure you’re doing a fab job & only time will tell if we’ve all made the best decision, but at least we can learn from the ones!

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  4. Andy says:

    We are going through the same process this year and I think your attitude is spot on. Besides there seems little point in trying to force tham to do something that they dislike, fortunately it has been quite painless this time, not sure about the next one though.

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  5. Susan Mann (@susankmann) says:

    wow how did he get to that age, that’s scary. My heart goes out to you twinny, I am hoping that by the time my two are any where near that age I’ve found an injection to keep them small forever. 🙂 good luck twinny and you are a great mum x

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  6. Alexandra says:

    When my son was picking his gcses he didnt really have a clue what he wanted to do. And afterwards wished he had chosen other subjects. He is no in sixth form, he didnt get his maths last time round so did some btecs and re took maths. He is hoping to do a levels this time round.
    I am really proud that as a single mother i have raised a wise young man,who gives me no trouble at all.

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  7. homemademummy says:

    I’m in exactly the same boat and also wondering how on earth it came to pass that I have a 13 year old and a 3 year old? We had options evening a couple of weeks back and it all seems so ‘important’ and I have to keep reminding myself that the best achievement I have to date is getting this incredible, amazing, brilliant girl to 13, something tells me you are bang on track – all we can do is love them, support them and help them and you are doing that in droves x

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  8. helenadams1 says:

    Wow from your pictures you do not look old enough to have a son about to do his GCSE’s let alone have four children!
    I have now got a three and a half and I cant believe how fast it has gone and I have often felt like I am doing harm as I resonate with your feeling that I am making it all up as I go along!! thank you for putting my mind up with such a beautifully written post saying honestly how most of us mothers feel THANK YOU.

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