It is that time again when our children are preparing to leave for school or in some cases leaving for the first time. It is a new phase in life for us and them that represents transition and change. Watching our children step into a separate world can be very challenging for us. We care about their well being and it’s easy for us to imagine all the difficulties they may encounter.
Letting go of the relationship we once had with our children, is very hard. Adjusting to change is very difficult for many of us. Letting go means we cannot control the outcome, cannot give advice, nor fix anything for them. By letting go, we are no longer protective but rather allow our children to face their own reality.
Letting go does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else. Learning this and applying this concept requires time, patience and practice. We often think that if we stop doing things for our children, it means we do not care or love them. Actually, refraining from “doing” takes more work than doing... it takes emotional work on our part.
When we jump in to rescue and do for another, we are relieving our own anxiety and trying to manipulate the outcome. Taking a step back and allowing others to make their own mistakes can cause anxiety and tension in us, therefore we prefer “to do” rather than observe, take a step back and bite our tongue.
Some of us may derive our self esteem by doing for others and it can also provide us with a sense of purpose in life. However, it truly is not helping the other, it’s helping us. When we do something for someone that they can do for themselves, we are teaching them that they need to depend on us and we create dependency not independence. We have now created a codependent relationship.
Preparing to let go requires thinking about this intellectually and not on an emotional level. Think it through. Say to yourself, that by jumping in, you are hurting them not helping them. We want to be supportive as parents not protective, especially as they are launching into a new stage in their lives. Each person has to do their part in solving their own problems. There are problems you just can’t solve for someone else.