Creative Dad's--How Much is Too Much
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SOMETIMES THE BEST HELP WE CAN GIVE THEM IS NO HELP AT ALL



Sometimes we'll even have to watch them crash land and, if we're lucky, they'll get up, dust themselves off and try it againwhatever "it" is for that moment. Sometimes we have to watch them fall then hurt themselves and still we have to bite our tongues, stick our hands in our pockets and zip up our lips. And if you're a father of girls like me, the worst times is when "he" comes to the door looking to take your precious ones out for the evening in his new car just two days after he got his license. Not only are you trusting your children to do the right things for the next few hours but you now have to trust someone else's child to do likewise...and to watch out for your little bundle of joy at the same time. In the end what other choice have we? None really. Oh, we can, if we are foolish and of the over-protective ilk, postpone things beyond their natural time, but that only ends up in resentment and rebelliousness and, too often, pain.

We can try letting go with one hand while we hold on with the other, but that's like trying to run a three-legged race with your partner facing the opposite way. In the end, we just have to let them "do it themselves" like they've been begging us to let them do since they were old enough to talk. Luckily for us, their "freedom" doesn't come all at once but in little doses. It's just that the circumstances of the doses seem to increase in severity as they get older probably because they are over more severe things. But it's just like everything else in lifeif we've taken it one step at a time, taught them all we could during each of those steps, gotten them to practice those steps till they got them right (with a little "boost" from us along the way) before going on to the next step, they're going to be readyas ready as is humanly possible.

And the most interesting thing of all is, as they get older, if we've done our jobs right as parents, the kind of help and the amount of help that they'll need from us will dwindle as they pick up the slack along the way. And, fight it as we must, it is just better that we step aside and let them help themselves.

Their will be times that they will fall harder and farther, perhaps, than they had planned or expected or that we ever wanted them to experience and they will turn to us with that sad look in their eyes, silently asking for the help their egos won't allow them to ask for out loud.

And if we are good parents, caring parents, understanding parents, loving parents we'll give them the dignity to let them pick themselves up, brush themselves off and do it again on their own just like they were begging us to do from the time they were old enough to talk. That doesn't mean we still can't slip them a few bucks when no one's looking - just as a last minute back up, of course (or keep a watchful eye from a distance, ready to step in during the more "dangerous/risky" propositions they are sometimes all too willing to rush into without a prior thought or plan). We just can't and shouldn't do it too often.

They won't like us if we subtly or even blatantly encourage or force them into becoming dependant all over again and we won't like ourselves for having this burden hanging around our necks especially when they've just celebrated their thirtieth birthday. When in doubt remember this saying"Don't just do somethingstand there!"


Rich Warren is a single parent, writer, composer and producer living and working in Los Angeles.

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