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When you have a child, your first natural instinct is to protect them from whatever harm may try to come their way. You read every book you can, soaking up every parent’s advice from start to finish. But what you may never truly be prepared for, is the day they are ready to “leave the nest” and fly out on their own.
According to a website called “JanShares,” she describes it as: “This notion of “letting go” can create levels of anxiety most parents could not have prepared for, with an intensity they did not expect. Many report experiencing feelings of grieving a loss.
It is much easier said than done when the time comes to break the parent-child connection which begins the establishment of a child’s independence.
Becoming aware of what’s behind your need to parent your child indefinitely is a good place to begin your letting go process. Sorting out those mixed feelings preventing you from letting go is the first step toward understanding and conquering one of the most painful parts of parenting.
The emotional struggle could be due to your own dependency needs supplied to you by your child. The truth is, for a parent, there is no other love that compares to the love a mother has for a child and the responsibility that comes with caring for and protecting that child.
Thus, a parent is operating out of pure love, reciprocated by the child, which creates the intense, unexpected love bond that is hard to break. It’s no wonder parents have a tough time letting go and allowing the child to become independent.”
But letting go doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some ways to help the process:
Set boundaries for yourself; practice giving your child space to grow.
Give your child a chance to master tasks alone and learn from mistakes.
Trust that the values you’ve instilled will inform their decisions.
Acknowledge that you’ve done your best as a parent and that the hands-on phase of parenting does come to an end.
Treat the letting go process as a transitional loss and grieve accordingly; see a family therapist if necessary.
* As your child matures, rebuild a new relationship that is less about dependency and more about mutual respect, admiration, and a celebration of a budding, capable young adult.
This Friday, we will introduce a calming smoothie that can help with the process of letting go – until then, we wish you the best of luck in letting go of your own little one!!!