‘Letting go’ when you’re a parent might not be something you want to think about. It’s hard, especially if you’ve been a particularly ‘hands-on’ kind of parent – it might even feel impossible. Even if you’ve allowed your child to be fairly independent, the idea of stepping back altogether and letting them make their own decisions is not altogether a pleasant one.
Yet it needs to be done. If you want to complete your job as a parent well, you need to know when your child is ready to make their own choices and do their own thing. If you don’t know where to start, here are some ideas to help you make letting go a little easier.
Help Them to Help Themselves
Some parents want to do absolutely everything for their kids, and that’s entirely understandable. When children are babies and toddlers, they will need a lot of help. However, as they grow older and are more capable of doing things by themselves, this is the perfect opportunity to step back and let that happen.
As a parent, you need to teach your children how to do things and then supervise when they start to do those things alone. This could be anything from brushing their teeth to making their bed to packing their lunch for school or cleaning up around the house. Anything at all that you might feel as though you should step in and do for them should be a skill they need to learn for themselves. By teaching and then supervising (and eventually not even doing that) rather than taking over, you are helping your child to help themselves and letting go just a little.
Give Them Space
Sometimes people want to be by themselves. They won’t necessarily be feeling sad or down; they might just want their own company for a while. Children are the same. They’ll get tired or just need some quiet time. As a parent, you need to let them have this quiet time. Don’t keep asking them if they need anything or if they want to talk or require any help. Let them work out how they are feeling, and as long as they know you are there to help them, if they do want it, you are doing a great job.
This will help them when it comes to school or being away from you for any other reason. If they can deal with their own emotions and understand they don’t have to be with you – or anyone – all the time, they will become much more capable and well-rounded when it comes to their emotions. You have the added benefit of knowing they are safe in your care or at school due to the insurance for schools and the great teachers there, so there is really no need to worry.
Stop Trying to Raise a Happy Kid
Parents want to see their children happen, and they will, therefore, do all they can to ensure this happens. This often means steering children away from what the parent might class as a bad decision and pointing them in another direction. Although happiness might lie in that direction, it might not be what the child wants or needs.
When you let go as a parent, you will stop trying to make every moment a happy one. This sounds harsh, but it will allow your child to grow up to understand that not everything they want is something they’ll get and that sad or bad things happen in life. It will show them that decisions have consequences.
Why is this good? This is good because these are skills we need to know as adults, and the sooner we can learn them, the easier life will be.