When the children all leave home
Parents know deep down that the baby in their arms will leave home once they reach adulthood. However it is a moment that we, as parents, do not want to arrive as it means our baby are ready, willing and able to make their own decisions and make their way in the world without undue emotional dependency on the home they have come from. Our baby is moving toward more and more freedom and autonomy and less and less parental control. Our main job as parents is now complete and as parents our role are changing, for some this is difficult to accept. We can offer advice, and can gently offer words of encouragement but we are no longer in charge, our off-spring have become adults and can now make their own decisions, whether we like it or not.
Parents may feel fearful that something might go wrong, their child may make a decision they don't agree with and yes, they are likely too. However we cannot wrap our children up in cotton wool all their lives, there is a point when we must let go. All we can do is offer gentle guidance’s, we don’t want to scare them off or make them feel like we are interfering in their lives. As Christian parents, this is when our trust in God becomes paramount. We have set the ground work, however from this point onwards we leave them in God’s hands and pray.
Things to remember:
- Realize that whether or not you have a career, taking care of your child was your primary job. It is normal to feel some sadness as the definition of your "job" changes.
- Realize that you have raised your child well enough so that he/she is able to leave. You have given her both roots and wings.
- Support your child as he/she begins to manage his own life. Be a mentor, not a manager.
- Let your child know that you will always be there for him/her.
- Use technology wisely. Email, texting and instant messaging are wonderful ways to stay in touch and still allow each of you to have your space — don’t overuse it.
My eldest will be 23 early next year and he is ready to move into a new chapter of his life. I wonder some days how he will manage. Will he be able to wash his clothes, can he use a washing machine, does he know when to mop the floor? I won't know the answers until he moves out and gives it ago. He isn't moving to another state or country, I will be close by if he needs help. But he needs to learn to live independently and understand things like the cost of living, paying bills, doing without etc... I will let you know how he goes, we have a few more months to go - firstly he needs to find a place to rent (step one)!!
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