Helping My Children to Be Independent (Back to School!)

1st day of school 2012

On Friday, August 3rd, I sent 4 of the kids back to school. As you can tell by the picture above, most of them were ok with the idea. Lucy was thrilled to pieces. But, Jace – well, he had a rough morning.

I drove the kids down to the bus stop and proceeded to put all 4 of them on the bus. There were no tears, from them or from me. Lucy couldn’t quit bouncing up and down, and her excitement just bubbled over. I have never had one so happy to go to school.

I’ve had quite a few parents give me a hard time about the fact that I put my kids on the school bus – especially Lucy who started kindergarten this year. You see, according to them, I should have driven her (if not all of them) to school, walked her in, had breakfast with her, and then taken her to her classroom. It would help her “adjust.”


In Ohio, I was not allowed to accompany Ashley into the school or have breakfast with her. If I drove her to school, she was dropped at the door, and that was it. The teachers wanted a safe environment for the kids, and they wanted the kids to understand that Mommy couldn’t be there to hold their hands, and they needed to be big boys and girls.

Now, this was not easy for me…. at first. I grew up going to Christian school my whole life, and we didn’t have a school bus to pick us up every day. So, the first time I put Ashley on a bus as a 5 year old kindergartener, I was a basket case. And, if I have to be honest, I will admit that I followed the bus to the school for the first week. I did. It was hard to let go. But, I knew I had to. I knew that if I coddled her, she wouldn’t become independent, and she would always think that I would be there to watch her every move and catch her when she fell. We all know life doesn’t work like that, and I think it’s important kids learn that early on.

As I’ve had more children, it’s gotten easier to put them on the bus that first time. Especially this time around with Lucy. Lucy has been so excited about riding the bus, going to kindergarten, and all the wonderful new experiences, that if I had gone with her, it would have taken away from her excitement. This is her first time being allowed to do anything all alone, and she has embraced it. She comes home every day bouncing off the bus just as much as she was bouncing when I put her on the bus.

Maybe it’s because I have so many kids, but I doubt it. I was raised to be independent and do things for myself. I understood that when I went off to work the first day that Mom and Dad weren’t going to bail me out, and I had to be responsible for myself. My actions had consequences. (And believe me, I learned that lesson quickly.)

When it comes to your family, what kind of mom are you? (And by asking that, I don’t believe there is a wrong answer. Every child should be snuggled, cuddled, and loved on as much as possible. I just think they need a little independence as well.)

What are your thoughts?