At the tender age of 50 something I recently found myself at odds with my 80 something mother regarding my right to choose for myself. I chose to drive cross country to attend a retreat in Brooklyn, New York. She fearing for me, my safety, well being, etc. wanted me to fly. It was a tense, hard conversation spread over several days.
One of the reoccurring themes personally and in my coaching work are roles and behaviors as parents. Our job as parents is to allow space for our children to make mistakes and to grow. It is parenting instinct to want the best for our children, to want them to show up well. (reflecting well on us in the process) and for them to make “good decisions” that serve them well. However these desires can backfire when parents over manage and sit in disapproval of the choices made by our children.
We give power to the fear and coddle, restrict, over protect, police. Inadvertently sending the message; you, child, can’t handle yourself. Inadvertently handicapping their ability to deal with life. Parents get it right when they stand back, hold space, listen with out interjection, champion effort, cheer learning as well as success. These are the keys to raising adults. Sending the message you’ve got this, you’ll be okay.
It’s a lot to ask. To put down our fears and worries. To trust those young people will come through. Will be able to deal, even at 50 plus years of age. Our heart strings are syncopated with our offspring. More often than not it is ourselves we try to protect not wanting to feel the resonance of the child’s hurt, frustration, shame. Their heart break is our heart break.
The truth is no one can control anything further than their own thoughts and actions. As parents we can not prevent errors in judgement on the part of our young. Nor command the world to not be the world. What we can do is have faith in our progeny and verbalize that faith. We can trust they will learn and grow from all their experiences. We can stand with them in unconditional love.
For your best possible self.