Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Holding on and Letting go

It can be challenging to strike a balance between meeting children’s needs and giving them space to develop independence. At one extreme we hover. Caution - this behavior may be hazardous to everyone's health and well-being. Children can become “spoiled” by the constant care of others who do it all for them. Still others will fight for independence and push over-protective adults away. These children may have a hard time asking for help when they really need it. They are tired of the constant attention and want to be left alone!

Finding a balance - children need watchful adults who observe from a reasonable distance. They need encouragement to empower them to try new things. They need to know, “I believe you can do this!” Much of our role requires balance and wisdom. When do I offer support and when do I let go with love and encourage independence?

I am writing about this because it continues to be one of my biggest challenges. Letting go is hard. I want to believe I have more influence than I really have. If they'd only do "it" my way, their life would go much more smoothly. This is real arrogance on my part. Everyone must walk their own path, and find their own way. I can really only change myself. I can offer love and support. I can be there to listen. I can do my own self care so I have the energy to sustain my relationships. I can take care of my own business, which is no small task.

Holding on and letting go means being available when others need our support. And when they are ready, we step back, letting them know we believe in their ability to figure this out on their own.

1 comment:

Jane said...

Letting go is one of the hardest lessons to learn. I remember letting my kids go when they graduated from high school and became independent quicker than I realized or thought they should. However when your daughter calls and says, "mom, what kind of cleaner do you use in the bathroom"? It sort of warms your heart. Several years later you find that they have a hard time letting you go. They become protective of their parents. Like we were to them in their childhood. They then are asking why you got on the top of the ladder, or why did dad get a motorcycle? Seems they have experiences to carry them thru and this is what parents want to happen. Even later when your live is near to the end I have found children not wanting to let their parents go. They want to hold on to them as we once did to them. It is an intersting concept, and I think about this a lot.