Jennifer DuBose, M.S.,
C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private
practice in Batavia and writes a monthly column for Chicago
to be a good step-parent
Why your family should make a 'bucket list'
Help for the anxious child
Is your child no longer keen on getting lunch box
notes from Mom-let alone "Mommy"-or does he drop your hand like a
hot potato whenever another kid his age appears? Or perhaps he's
like my son, Noah, who recently put the brakes on my plans to
chaperone his school field trip.
OK, so maybe I put my arm around him once too often on
that last trip and should rein in my enthusiasm when I see him at
school. Being identified as someone's kid can be-from a pre-teen's
perspective-way uncool. I knew my chaperoning days were numbered,
but wasn't prepared for the moment he came through the door after
school, permission slip in hand.
"I need you to sign this, but Mom," he began, looking me
in the eye and shaking his head no. He looked so serious I couldn't
help but laugh.
"What? You mean I can't go?" I asked. His class was hiking
to the Fox River. They were to hunt for crayfish and leeches and
other nifty critters, and they would do it without me. I needed to
check off one box on the form to permit him to participate, another
to chaperone. But there wasn't a place to check off "I'd be
delighted to help. But my kid-you know the one-he says I can't
come." It stung.
I love chaperoning. It's a great opportunity to meet the
other kids, get to know the teachers and see my kids in action. I
decided to respect his wishes and sit this one out because my kid
is trying to grow up. He's preparing someday to leave the nest, and
I need to move over and let him practice spreading his
No matter your child's age, remember that field trips are
more than mere complements to our children's curriculums. Surviving
time away from home without us-at school, on those fun field trips,
and even on playdates with friends-can be a huge confidence builder
for our children. If we're lucky, they'll return home,
filled-to-bursting with stories about their day. The telling of
these stories-when they feel, for a moment, like the ones doing the
teaching-can greatly enhance their confidence. Remember, confident
kids are what we're after.
If our children develop a sense of confidence about going
out into the world and meeting it with curiosity and a sense of
adventure, which will lead to an ability to survive as independent,
autonomous adults, then we'll know we've done something
Jennifer DuBose, M.S., C.A.S., is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in Batavia.
See more of Jennifer's stories here.
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