Letting Go

Letting Go

In the “Especially for Parents” section of our May newsletters I wrote an article about what I have termed “the life cycle of a parent.” In it I discussed the fact that there seems to be an endless pattern of relating to your children by:

1. Connecting
2. Keeping the connection
3. Letting go

I thought it would be interesting to hear examples of how you have experienced “the life cycle of a parent” with the children in your life. Tell us some great ways you connect to your infant, toddler, preschooler or schoolager. Or, give us some examples of ways you successfully hold the connection with your child, especially in challenging situations. Or, tell us of your struggles, and successes, in the realm of letting go. Have you witnessed growth in your child when you have successfully let go? When is the appropriate time to “let go” and how have you done it? I’ll start by giving an example from my own life.

Letting go – I remember really struggling with when I should allow our youngest daughter to ride her bike by herself to the community swimming pool. She seemed very capable, had learned all the safety rules, had ridden with us on those same streets and really wanted to be able to go on her own. But, she was our third child and I knew I hadn’t let her older two sisters ride on their own at that age. And, none of her other friends had yet been allowed to go outside their immediate neighborhoods alone on their bikes. But, after much discussion with my husband, we did let her go on her own that summer. She handled it well, but I was very nervous about it and was so relieved when the next summer many other parents were letting their children ride there too. It was uncomfortable to be the first parents to “let go” on that issue and I knew that some parents were not happy that we had. I’m sure they were hearing their children whine, “But, Alli’s parents let her ride to the pool.” And yet, it seemed the right decision with regard to Alli, even though it would have been easier for us to deny her request until more of her peers were also given permission to ride.