I heard a psychologist recently offer this piece of advice for parents:
Parents go through stages of development, just like their kids do, and school administrators have to understand where parents are because this often affects their students in important ways.
In the early years, parents are project managers; they organize their kids, check their backpacks and agendas, and make sure they take their lunch with them to school. Primary school students are almost always comfortable with this level of supervision.
If you are driving with your 8-year old and he sees a friend, he might say, “Dad, there’s Biff. Honk the horn so he sees us!” Five years later, that exact scenario plays out in a completely different way. If a dad is driving with his son and spots Biff, before he can think of hitting the horn, his now 13-year old shouts, “ Please don’t honk!” as he throws himself under the dashboard.
The developmental challenge for the middle school parent is complicated. Your son has to “fire” you for his own good, as a necessary first step towards independence. Once this happens, there are just two things you need to do:
First, you have to grieve because a wonderful stage of life is now over.
Second, like any project manager, once you’ve been fired, you have to figure out a way to get rehired as a consultant.