When I first heard this month the series was going to focus on parenting, my immediate reaction was . . . I’m not a parent. However, my lovely co-writers here at Ask God Today pointed out, “No, you are not a parent, but you have them.”
My junior year in college, I had the privilege of studying abroad in Winchester, England. Saying it was an amazing three months is an understatement. This was the first time that I had ever really made a life-changing decision for myself. I decided to go, and presented it to my parents.
Notice I said “presented,” not asked. They were skeptical, but willing to see me off on my England adventure. I spent those three months finding my way around, learning the transportation, grocery shopping and buying the necessities when they were needed. For the first time in my life I did not have Mom and Dad there to save me if something went wrong. It was invigorating, freeing, and something I didn’t want to let go of. Then the semester ended and I flew home.
The first few months of my return were some of the worst in my relationship with my mother.
At 21 years old, I had just come from living on my own and surviving . . . no thriving, back to “my house, my rules.” (I’m sure parents reading this know that saying.)
Well, I felt like I was not being allowed to grow as an adult. Coming home to answer for every single thing I did was suffocating. It may seem like a silly thing for a 21-year-old to rebel like a 16-year-old, but I did. This only made Mom grab hold of those reins more tightly. I was mean for no reason, assuming anything that came out of her mouth would be a new rule or punishment. We fought all the time. It caused a lot of tension in our relationship.
After a few months of this we finally broke and talked it out through lots of tears. I felt I was being treated like a child and she felt she was losing hers. She saw that I was more independent, and in a final attempt to hold on to that baby girl she loved and still saw sitting there in front of her, she latched on in the only way she knew how.
You may have a teenage or adult child still living at home who is rebelling. They may be acting out and doing things in a way that seems to be on purpose to spite you.
Yes, there are situations when a kid really can go AWOL, but in most instances your child is trying to learn how to do things on their own.
Your children need space to mess up. They need space to try, fail, and learn from their own mistakes. Space to grow. Yes, it may be hard to see your baby mess up, but you will be there to comfort them when it happens.
Wouldn’t you rather give them their space, than to hold on so tightly they resent you and don’t come to you when something does go wrong?
This was true for my mother and me. It is a vicious cycle that, until a conversation takes place, can go on forever and possibly hurt the relationship between parent and child.
Parents, I am not implying that you should not have boundaries for your children, but when they get to the late teenage/young adult years,
it is time to loosen your grip.
I promise they will respect you more for allowing them to try and fail in the long run.
You need not fear
because the Word says that if you:
‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’ Proverbs 22:6
They may stumble and fall every once and a while, but their heart knows where it needs to go.
Comment below with how you have responded to your teen/young adult searching for independence?