Last year I taught a class to new students at a community college on how to successfully make it through college. The course covered everything from time management to relationships. I wish something like this existed when I was in school. Looking back, I feel like I was dropped off on campus by my parents and forced to figure things out — both good and bad.
The one message that continued to come up in the class was that once students leave high school, they become responsible for their own success. Gone are the days where parents ride your back to make sure every detail of your life is taken care of. Sure having family in your life is still important, but doing what it takes to move your life forward becomes your responsibility. When I was in high school, my mom used to tell me to slow down and enjoy my youth. She always said I would have the rest of my life to be an adult. It wasn’t until I went away to college and started living on my own that I knew exactly what she meant.
So what does parenting yourself mean? It means making decisions for yourself that are in your best interest. It could be a combination of what you feel is right and what your family may suggest for you. I always ask students if they were invited to a party that started at 10 p.m. and ended at 3 a.m. the night before a big test (that was 50 percent of their grade) if they would go. Many of them said they would go even if it meant they might miss the test. However, they all said that their parents would not let them go.
The good news about parenting yourself is that it gets easier as time goes by. The more you spend time on your own, the more you will know what is right for you. Plus, you will be doing this for the rest of your life. Sure, mistakes will be made and there will be consequences. But this is how we learn.
How do you parent yourself? Are you pleased with your progress? Let us know.
Courtney Bell is passionate about helping people achieve their goals. She is a life coach, professor and blogger with over 10 years of experience creating strategies for adults and students to live the lives they desire. Courtney currently lives in Chicago. Like her Facebook page – Courtney Bell Coaches and follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @cbellcoaches.