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How To Cope With Our Children Getting Older (When We Don’t Want Them To)

“They grow up so fast” goes the cliche! By the time you see them turn three, in a flash, they turn 23! But when you are looking at your child, and they have just learned to walk, said their first few words, or they have just started school, it can be difficult to see them grow up so quickly. In many ways, we might not want them to grow up so fast. And we can feel this tinge of sadness within us, but naturally, it’s a part of life but we’ve also got to remember to let go of certain things within ourselves. How can we learn to cope with our child getting older, even though we may not want them to?

Focus On Giving Them Roots

When we start to look at the reasons why we don’t want our children to grow up it’s because we are worried they will go away from us, never to return. But we have to remember that we are the biggest influence over their lives. Giving them roots, and remember that with each milestone in their life comes a new opportunity to help your child become more comfortable in their own skin. There are numerous guides online that can help make things more palatable. The guide Sending Your Teen Off To College? Here’s How To Get Them Ready can help in a practical sense. And you have to remember that with each new milestone, whether they are starting school, graduating from college, and having children of their own, we can feel these pangs of sadness. But good parents will always give their children roots. They will know where home is.

Give Them The Wings

We want our children to remain grounded in life, but if we focus on giving our children roots we have to give them wings. Life is not about standing still, but it’s about seeing your child achieve what they want in life. We want nothing but the best for our children, and we have to remember that if we don’t give them the skills to go and practice what we’ve taught them, they will never fulfil their potential. Allowing them to experiment with their identity, and figure out their worth is about what we instil in them. This means that if we never feel ready for them to go, then we will subconsciously smother them. We may very well hover around our child more than is necessary. And it’s these little habits at the very beginning of our parental journey that we need to address. 

Going to school is a fantastic example. Our children need to find their own way, and we can’t stay in school with them, even if we want to! What we can do is ensure that we provide them with those necessary skills to navigate going through school. We all remember how difficult school was, and this means that rather than telling them that school will be difficult, or attempting to give them the skills that we think they need, it’s more about letting them understand how to navigate in their own way. They are their own person. And we have to remember this. We are the parents, which means that we set the blueprint for their behaviour, but when we start to tell our children what things do and how to do them, it’s not giving them the opportunity to understand how they would solve problems.

Remember That Independence Is A Gradual Progression

We could worry but they are not ready for the real world, even when they are 6 years old! And this is a lesson for us as much as it is our children. We have to remember to start simple. Helping our child to gain independence is partly about us slowly handing over the reins, but also remembering that our child wants independence. This means that we gradually start to give them little duties that they are able to do completely. This could be from when they are 3 and taking their own cup from the cabinet, all the way through to washing their hair when they are 9. You’re not going to let them roam free right away. It’s about taking those little steps. And you start doing it with those small things. 

For example, when they are old enough, and you trust them, you can let go of their hands so they can walk across the road with you. After a while, we can start to increase the gap. And partly it’s to do with the fact that we need to be sure that they are safe, this is why we do things small. Testing the waters is crucial. When we teach our children the importance of looking left and right before they cross the road once we know that it’s a well-worn habit, that’s when we progress onto the next thing letting them decide when it’s okay for both of us to walk across the road. After that, we then let go of their hands. It’s not about letting them loose as soon as humanly possible!

Learn To Trust Your Child

When you start to look at the reasons why you’re concerned about your children getting older is it to do with your own insecurities, or is it because you don’t trust their abilities to follow through? We must remember that trusting our child is crucial. And when they are really young, we might feel that even though they want to assert independence or do things themselves, it results in a lot of mess, or it takes a long time. And we can certainly get frustrated by this. But this is all about the fact that we don’t trust our child. We have to learn that as they get older, that we have to trust their abilities to make the right decisions. But as humans, we won’t always make the right decisions! Whether it is allowing them the opportunity to pour their own milk as a toddler, or choosing their own career path that we don’t necessarily agree with, if we don’t trust our child, we will lay awake at night concerns! As our children get older, we have to trust that they will make the right decisions, but this means that if we don’t trust them, we’ve got to look at the lessons we’ve given them. We must provide the blueprint for living their life, but once they start to make their own decisions, we’ve got to step back.

Don’t Butt In!

It’s a simple lesson, but when we are trying to cope with our children getting older, we may feel that because they go to school all day, that we have got to spend so much time with them afterwards. But, they are their own person and we have to respect their wishes. It’s important for us not to butt in because this is a bad habit for us which can communicate to our child that we don’t trust them. When our children get older and we feel that we are losing our child, we have to learn to accept the fact that they are growing into their own person. Partly this is why many parents feel they want more children, because they remember their child as this little baby that needed us to look after them. But now they are their own person, and they are doing everything they want in life, making friends, and being their own person. 

It’s not easy for us to cope with our children getting older, especially when we feel that they were the perfect little baby, but it’s the way life works. No doubt you’ll remember your parents feeling that they were stifling you. Or they told you not to do things because, now you realise, they cared. And while it’s a simple lesson, it can take a long time for us to learn it. 

*Collaborative post