How do I let my child go?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about letting our kids go… Letting them grow up…  Letting them fail…  Letting them struggle…  Letting them leave.

As parents, the last thing we want to see is our kids struggling.  It doesn’t matter if they are 3 or 23, the feeling is the same and we want to run to help.  Don’t.  At least don’t run to their aid every single time.  You know when it’s necessary.  And you probably know when you’re overstepping.  You probably know when you’re helicopter parenting.  You probably know when it would be a good time to let them fail and learn and grow.  

So why is it so hard for us as moms and dads to do this?  I think often it’s because we have attached our own worth, value, and even identity to our kids’ successes and failures.  And when they are all grown up and gone and you reflect back on the 18-22 years of parenting, you will have much to relish in, much to grieve, much to celebrate, and much to wish you could ‘do over’.  But.  You.  Can’t.  There are no erasures of time, no reset buttons on childrearing, no do-overs.   There is only today and then learning from our mistakes and making different choices in the tomorrows.

So, let your kids go as they grow up.  Let them be.  Speak into their lives and ask great questions.  Listen.  Cry with them.  Rejoice with them.  Celebrate victories with them.  Help them when they need it.  Cheer them on.  Believe in them.  Love them no matter what.  

But let them grow up and let them go.  Don’t stifle them and smother them and make decisions for them and push them and bulldozer any hard things in their lives for them.  Growing up is hard for them.  Letting them grow up is hard for us.  Partner with your kids in that ‘hard’ and enjoy the ride.  It is over before you know it!


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