One thing I have learned….
It is easier to let your kids go a little at a time,
than to hold them tight and have to let them go all at once when they are grown. – JB Organizing
Letting Go of our kids is not easy. It isn’t easy when they are newborns and “letting go” means someone else holds them. It isn’t easy when they are babies and you leave them with a relative or with a babysitter. It isn’t easy when they are preschoolers and they attend school for the first time. It isn’t easy when they are in grade school and have their first sleepover. It isn’t easy when they go on their first weekend away with a trusted friend, relative, church or school group. It isn’t easy when they go away to their first summer camp or vacation with a relative or friend. It certainly isn’t easy when they head off to college. Letting Go of our kids is never easy, but it is necessary.
Look at “letting go” like this…..You would never put a new skier on a Black Diamond ski slope, instead you would start them on the “bunny hill” where they could safely learn. You would then gradually move them to a “green” slope and then to a “blue” and then ultimately to the Black Diamond when they were ready. In the same way we don’t want to have the first time our kids we “let go” and our kids are doing things without us, to be when they go away to College. As in the skiing analogy, the injury to a new skier on the Black Diamond could be enormous and so could the “injury” to a child for whom college is the first glimpse of any independence. They need to learn some independence on the “bunny hills” of life (and so do we as parents), so that they are not harmed on the “Black Diamonds” life throws at them later.
It is important to remember that the benefits of “letting go” gradually is for us as parents, but in reality it is even more essential for the development of the child. Not only does it give you confidence that they will be ok, it gives the child necessary confidence that they will be ok without Mom or Dad. It shows them, a little at a time, that they can navigate this world, they can be independent, and they can be successful without Mom and Dad. The confidence this gradual letting go gives to parents, as well as children is invaluable! It is easy at the start to want to hold on tight, but holding tight as they get older does little to inspire the confidence in the child that they will need to be successful and independent in life. As hard as it is, for their sake, I have learned that I need to let them go gradually, and remind them gradually that they got this!!