This is tough because I am a nurturer by nature.
I have always wanted to become a mother so finding the balance between giving them more freedom to grow and not doing everything for them sounds completely overwhelming for me. The thought of my kids growing up scares me but I also want them to grow up self sufficient and successful so how do you find the balance? Once they become teenagers it is hard because now they are leaving the house more, driving, hanging out with older cool kids and all of that mixed into one sounds terrifying.
Are they making good choices, are they being safe and supported, do they need me. All of these things can cloud our minds when they aren’t home with us and that can be overwhelming and start to impact us. We have to let them do things on their own, make their own food, drive a car and fight their own battles but why just because they are teenagers do we have to let them do things on their own. See the weird balance there? It is a lot to try to understand. They will forever be our babies so what now, what do we do now that they are teenagers.
Stop doing everything for them
Once again this is hard because we view them as small children no matter how old they are. They used to snuggle and read books, help us stir the cookie dough, call us mommy and now they are teenagers changing and growing. We want to continue to pack their lunches, make their bed and fight their tough battles for them. We need to allow them to be independent and we can start this while they are younger that way when they hit the teen years they have already established some sort of independence.
Stop expecting so much
They are just kids. It doesn’t matter if they are 3, 10 or 16 they are still kids and sometimes we feel that just because they are getting older we need to expect more out of them. But by expecting too much all we are doing is overwhelming them. By expecting too much of them we tend to become controlling and by controlling everything they do makes them feel like they don’t have any choices.
Leave them alone
Stop poking and prodding. Stop assuming things. Stop questioning them. Easier said than done right? We want to make sure they are okay all the time we want to make sure their friends are treating them right and we want to make sure they still need us. We have to stop bombarding them and being creeps and let them figure things out on their own. Let them figure out their fights, friendships and relationships on their own because if we don’t we are holding them back from growing up.
Accept what is going on and move forward WITH them growing up
They are our children and no matter how old they get they will forever love us and need us just the NEED will change. They will grow up and figure things out on their own we need to accept that and grow alongside with them showing love and support. If you can accept that as they continue to get older, the more they will begin to change and grow up, the easier it may be for you.
Get on the same page
Have regular conversations about boundaries and respect, talk with them about how you are an open book and you are there if they need you in a tough situation. As they get older they will carry those talks with them and if they need you they may just call. When you set boundaries and get on the same page when it comes to communication and expectations it makes it easier to let them venture out and do more as they get older. When they grow older they will want to do more like go to parties, make different choices, make new friends that we may not agree on. But if everyone is always on the same page as far as what we expect we feel good about them being out and they feel good because we have let them know there is trust. Open the line of communication to checking in when at said party, have them call if they need a ride, and help them understand about making good choices about alcohol.
It is a tough thing, being a parent. We want our children to stay babies forever and never leave the nest and always need us. But the reality is they grow up and they change and if we try to confine them to the home and demand that they rely on us they will never grow up and be strong independent people. Let them go and experience the world but also make sure everyone is communicating and there is always respect on all ends. Be an open book without judgement but also remember to parent no matter what. Do what you feel is best for you as a parent and as a family and remember our chicks are going to grow into big birds and they are going to do what they are going to do we just need to be open to join the flight.
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