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Letting Go

From the moment a mother conceives there is an undeniable bond created and from that moment a mother will do all in her power to love and protect her baby.

The need to protect…

While raising great kids, the absolute need to protect our children is amazingly strong.  We protect them from all sorts of potential danger.  When they are very young we do all we can to protect them from drowning, serious falls, burns, choking, getting sick and even against starvation.

As they grow our need to protect them doesn’t waver.   Any parent who has had a child in hospital because of sickness or injury will tell you they would gladly trade places with them if they could.  To see your own child suffering has got to be one of the hardest things a parent has to do.  It’s all consuming and at that time nothing else matters except the well-being of your child.

But …

Yes, there is a but.  While raising great kids, there are many times when you have to learn to let go.  And I’m the first to admit letting go hasn’t always been easy for me.

I remember…

…the first time my eldest son cycled to school – on his own – without my protection.

It wasn’t as if he wasn’t prepared.  I’d been cycling to school with him every Friday (weather permitting) for years.  So when he started High School, which was right next to his old Primary School, there was no reason why he shouldn’t be allowed to cycle the 5 kilometres by himself.

Plenty of other kids were doing it and it was mostly on pavements.  He’d proved to me numerous times he knew how to safely navigate the two roundabouts and to always be on the lookout for cars backing out of driveways.  He knew to look and listen constantly and go slowly through the group of people at the bus stop.  And he knew to be extra careful cycling passed two ‘blind’ driveways.

So why did I feel physically sick the first day he did it?  I knew the cycle to school would take no more than 20 minutes, but it was only when I hadn’t heard anything from anybody (police, school, etc) for about an hour that I finally started to relax and accept he’d got to school safely.

Of course I started feeling sick again around 3 o’clock in the afternoon when I knew he’d be getting ready to cycle home.  When I heard the side gate being opened and knew he’d got home safely I managed to quickly pull myself together and welcome him home.

The days became weeks and the weeks became months, and slowly but surely I began to comfortably accept that my son was perfectly capable of getting to and from school safely – on his own – without my protection.  I was finally letting go.

By the way…

I went through exactly the same scenario three years later with my younger son.

Just one of many

Of course, the cycling to school story is just one of many situations where I’ve had to learn to let go while raising great kids.  Over the years there have been numerous times, even when my boys were young.  Think about the first time you left your precious baby with a non-family member baby-sitter.  Or your child’s first day at school.  Or their first sleep-over at a friend’s place.  These were like mini letting go’s, to prepare you for the bigger letting go stuff ahead.

I recall the first time my son wanted to go surfing, just with his mates – and when he celebrated New Year’s Eve in the City, watching the Harbour Bridge fireworks, with his mates.  Driving by himself after passing his driving test.  Flying to Queensland with his mates on a surfing holiday.  And even now at 18, going to parties, pubs and clubs.

It does get easier

I know I’ve come a long way because my eldest son is currently at the snow with his mates and I’m confident and comfortable that he’ll be happy, healthy and safe.

Raising Great Kids – Letting Go

It’s been my experience that a wonderful thing happens to your kids as you gradually learn to let go.  They become happy individuals, able to confidently and comfortably stand on their own two feet and take on whatever life has to offer.

As parents it’s what we want – isn’t it?

What has been your experience of letting go?

I always love to receive your comments, so let me know what your thoughts are on raising great kids and letting go.

Thanks for reading another Raising Great Kids blog.

You might also enjoy:

Raising Great Kids – Unconditional Love

Raising Great Kids – Listening

Jan Littlehales

10 Responses to “Raising Great Kids – Letting Go”

  1. Hi Jan
    As a mum of 3 kids, I know exactly how you feel. The first time you let them go is always the hardest. As you said it does get easier. Raising great kids can be very challenging but I know I have fantastic kids and am very proud of them.

  2. Hilary says:

    Great article Jan. As parents we all want to do the best job we possibly can at raising great kids. Trust is a huge component of this. It’s also funny how when you become a parent, you look at your own parents in a completely different light :) .

  3. Cathy Howitt says:

    Well written article Jan.
    As a mother of 6 kids, I have certainly found “letting go” easier with each kid, although their personalities play a huge part in how comfortable we feel. I have found that my kids look forward to that independence and have such a huge sense of achievement, that it is worth the “discomfort” on our part to allow them that freedom.
    Thank you for the thought provoking read.
    Cath

  4. Thanks for your comments Cathy – super mum of 6 :) You’re right, kids do feel a huge sense of achievement with every independent step they take – and it’s so rewarding as a parent to see it.

  5. You’re so right Hilary about looking at our own parents in a completely different light, once we are parents ourselves. Unfortunately, my mum never to got to meet either of my boys, which is such a huge shame. If you’re reading my blog Mum – please know you were a super mum – still missed and loved dearly.

  6. Lina Nguyen says:

    Oh wow, Jan. Thanks so much for sharing. Lots of things I have to look forward to, I see :) .

    I’m only a very new mum (my first child’ still in my belly), but I’ve already been challenged with letting go. In pregnancy, there’s so much uncertainty that it forces you to have faith in the unseen and trust in the unknown. I’m learning these valuable parenting, and life, lessons even now and my bubba isn’t even born yet!

    Great article, Jan, Super-Mum!

  7. Tom McEwin says:

    Hi Jan, a great read. No children of my own just yet, but I agree it is important to provide kids with the space to stand on their own feet and make mistakes from time to time.

  8. Hi Jan,
    I’m also in the same boat as Tom, no kids just yet. I do however remember the first time I drove alone (after dropping my Mum off). I don’t really remember my last day at home though, I think I just left and said ‘ok I’ll be staying at our new place now’. My Mum is a bit of a worrier, so I’m sure she had anxious periods with both episodes.

  9. Lisa Wood says:

    Hi Jan,

    Its funny how we try to protect them, and worry about them! We want them to grow up, yet when they do we wish they were little! I have had to learn to let go recently with our oldest son. It sure is a learning curve, and a huge wake up call. Life moves very fast – and children grow too fast.
    I am now enjoying our boys more than ever, because I know that they too will be soon leaving home.

    Cheers
    Lisa

  10. You’re not wrong there Lisa – life does move very fast and our children grow up so quickly.
    Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate you all dropping by :)
    Jan

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