Can a parent ever let go?

Can a parent ever let go?

This past week, in a bit of a coincidence, I’ve stumbled across multiple stories from friends – children and parents – who’ve disagreed with each other over important life-decisions like the choice of career or life partner.

It’s heartbreaking – this disagreeing with people closest to you, this not being able to understand each others thoughts and motivations.

Desperate children have been driven to the brink of suicide because they haven’t found it in their hearts to rebel. When I was younger I’d wonder why parents wouldn’t let them learn from their own mistakes. It seemed like such a logical thing to do.

As a mom now, I am no longer so certain. My children seem such a part of me, like a physical living part of my body, my heart, that it seems only natural to reach out and stop them, protect them from making mistakes. Separating myself from them seems the hardest thing I will ever need to do.

I wonder where I will find the courage to let them do something that, to my mind, is clearly a disaster. Would I be okay if they left the tried and tested to strike out on an unknown journey? Would I be okay, for instance, if one of them chose a career in music over academics, or would want to try their luck in Bollywood or strike out in the jungles as a photographer?

Would I be able to let them go? And yet be ready to have their back should they fail? Without a hint of ‘I told you so’? And then when they’re back up on their feet, would I be ready to let them make their next mistake? Be ready to have their back yet again?

It’s not going to be easy.

As I’ve grown older, possibly wiser, I’ve known some people who rebelled against their parents and found happiness. Some didn’t. Some heeded their advice and found happiness, others didn’t.

The thing is, one never can tell with life.

While children follow their passion, parents have to be the voice of reason. Click To Tweet

Ever so slowly, I hope they learn to balance their passion with reason, on their own. And I hope I’m around till they learn to do that. As their parent if I’m even writing this post, thinking I will have to let them go someday, it’s a step forward.

Meanwhile I make this promise to myself..

that I shall keep an open mind and respect their wish to follow their passion.

that I shall always always place their happiness above societal pressures – a lesson gifted to me by my parents.

and most of all, I will never close the doors of communication.

And I hope when the time comes, the children will give me and my concerns a patient hearing. And then, if they choose to go ahead despite it all, I shall find the courage to stand by them.

***********

 

Linking up with Mackenzie at Reflections from Me #mg

33 Replies to “Can a parent ever let go?”

  1. Very wise words. I am continually tempted to rush in and try to take over but I am gradually learning to take a step back. I think this is healthier for me as well as them. This is highly relevant for all parents of tweens and teens. Thank you so much for sharing with us at #TweensteensBeyond and for all your support during 2018. x

  2. Its so hard, I am at that stage now – mine are 17, making lots of choices. Lots of wrong choices. My two have lots of issues from their past, which really impedes them. Am trying to be there for them when they do.
    Hope you had a good Christmas.
    #TweensTeensBeyond

  3. I am sure this is such a hard thing for parents. I have seen parents like mine who have let go but I have also seen some who held on and the children are still in pain. Like you rightly said, parents need to see the other side before they write their decision on stone. Cos those who do, cannot then undo the harm it does.
    A heart-felt and very relevant post.

  4. It’s all the things we all said we would never do when we were parents isn’t it. And then suddenly ……….. it’s so very hard but I am finding that little by little is often plenty. Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

  5. Your words reflect the honest confessions of being a parent. Each one of us vows to be the ‘cool’ parent the moment we hold our baby for the first time in our arms & smile out of the fantasies of perfect parenthood. Nevertheless, no matter how logical we get while reasoning with our children, the generations are always different; except for a few repercussions of our past. It really isn’t easy to let go! All we could press on, is just letting them ‘learn’ to make choices instead of just ‘following’ theirs.

  6. It is so hard! I always thought I would be such a cool, easy going mum, but as they are getting older I am finding a need to be strict and protective. I hope as they get older I can let go just enough to not be too over protective! #mg

    1. Isn’t it? I thought so too, that I’d be a cool mom, I’d give them all the freedom they want. But it doesn’t work that way. One has to remember to be a parent – a kind and understand one but a parent nonetheless.

  7. Oh, such a heartfelt post this is. You can never tell with today’s kids how it would be like tomorrow. But they are your kids and I’m sure they will make sensible decision that will have you by their side no matter what.

    Also, when it comes to some parents, like my MIL – Love and not letting go is one thing, but not letting go to exercise control is another. Parents need to get the difference.

    1. I agree Soumya – the moment ‘ego’ and ‘control’ comes in, life becomes messy. And the worst bit is, it’s your own child who ends up suffering the most. If as a parent if you cannot see that, it is truly tragic.

  8. This is such an important dialogue to have with our own selves time and again to serve as a reminder so that when the actual testing situation comes, it does not appear like a shock. Reason and communication will be the effective tools instead of the egoistic ‘I told you so’.

    1. Oh that ‘I told you so’ is so tempting. That’s another promise I need to make — to set aside my ego and to work with the children to decide what’s best for them.

  9. You know what I love about you, don’t you? Your honesty. Your authentic self that comes through so powerfully in every post. It isn’t easy, no. letting go is HARD because we always feel and know that we may know better than our kids. And we can’t blame ourselves either.

    And I love your promises. It’s important to remind ourselves of these things ever so often. Always and always. When the time comes, trust me, you will know what to do. You may not know it now, but you will then.

    1. Thank you. I wonder sometimes if it’s only I who struggles with all these decisions? I wonder if I’m over thinking this whole parenting thing. Lots of people seem to get through it so easily. It’s heartening to see other moms having the same thoughts. I do hope with all my heart that what you say is right and that when the time comes it’ll all turn out right.

  10. As someone who’s been there and done that believe me it’s hard to let go. Every situation is different and the only learning I can pass on is that everything happens for the best.

    1. Ah yes. If only we can stick by that philosophy, learn to accept whatever comes our way life would be easier. We need to detach ourselves a little bit from everything, even our children. Perhaps it’s time to stop being ‘obsessivemom’ :-).

  11. I can’t tell you how much this post resonated with me. It is so easy to tell others or even pass black and white judgments when it concerns others. But even I wonder the same. Can I give them complete freedom? How will I be when there comes a life situation totally different from everything I believed in. Like you mentioned, I hope never to lose the voice of reason or of empathy to feel in their shoes. And hopefully, I will always stand by their decisions despite fighting them tooth and nail. I was actually writing a post on something similar.

    1. Would love to read what you have to say. I’m scared of all the talk of freedom and of letting the children ‘go’. But who decides ‘when’ and ‘how much’? That’s the decision that’s so very hard.

  12. As the mother of a son in his late 20’s, I do know how hard it can be to let go. But you will find the strength, because each child is only lent to us for a time – they do not belong to us, and they must find their own way. Sometimes we disagree with that way, but if it is an honorable way, we must support them.

  13. The answers is NO. I can’t let go …
    No matter how much ever I determine to wait n watch , let them learn from their own mistakes, let them take charge, they are not toddlers anymore, I can’t be holding their hands forever , etc etc etc ……
    It just doesn’t resonate well in that moment of anxiety, stress and the overwhelming concerns for my children .
    And I know I have to eventually let go … just don’t know when and how .

    1. I knew you’d be as clueless as I am. It would depend on the children too. The ‘right’ age is different for each child. Of course, ultimately we just have to let them go and fail or succeed and also to reconcile themselves with their weaknesses.

  14. That was such an important thing you talked about. As a child, I think we really dont understand parent’s struggle but at times as we grow to be in a different era all together, there are bound to be differences as we might find happiness elsewhere other than what our parents thought it to be! Acceptance on both parts is expected, which is difficult but not impossible.

    1. That’s true. Which is why I feel constant communication is so essential. At least you know where your children are going and they know where you are coming from.

  15. This is something I have had to consider with my own children. As my oldest is now in his second year of high school and my youngest only has another year and a half of elementary school, these thoughts do cross my mind. I know that I will give them the space to make their own mistakes because I teach them that mistakes are a part of life. You can’t learn and grow without them. But I also know that it will be extremely hard to watch them make those mistakes without stepping in. I’m glad I’m not the only mom out there who thinks these thoughts:) #mg

    1. Knowing the right thing to do and actually doing it are two different things. That’s something we need to understand. Only then can we move forward. Thanks for visiting.

  16. It is going to be difficult, isn’t it? I don’t know if I’ll be able to but I have to. I find it hard to let my sister go, wonder what I’ll do with M?

  17. I can imagine how difficult if must be for you just thinking about it happening sometime in the future.
    I remember mum opening her heart out to me ages ago about something I had done and which she hadn’t approved of. She said, “You are a piece of my heart, my flesh and blood! If something were to happen to you, do you think I would be able to survive it all?” And, I broke into a thousand pieces, just imagining how she must have felt. That line has stayed with me all these years, and echoes in my mind every time I have some weird thoughts creeping up into my mind, thanks to all the stress life gifts us from time to time!
    Now, please don’t you get all worked up reading this comment. I am fine! 🙂 <3
    And, hugs to you! May you find the strength to let go, encourage your kids to follow their heart and pray things turn out fine for them!

    1. You had me worried for a moment. Glad you’re fine. Your mother is right, parents feel far more than they can ever express. You take care of yourself and be happy.

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