We can’t wait for the change

March 8, 2010

Isn’t it fun to watch kids and parents grow up together?

“Why don’t you grow up?” when we think they are being immature.
“Are you kidding, you’re only _____!” (You can fill in the blank) when they try out their wings.   Weather it’s time to get rid of the superhero underpants or take down the dinosaur wallpaper, watching our kids growing up hurts the parents almost as much as it hurts the kids we are watching grow.

Besides real “growing pains” that kids experience, they are also going through a roller coaster ride themselves.  Kid stuff is fun, grown-ups never smile.  (Well, hardly ever.)  The toys and games of our youth leave most of us feeling good.  The games that teens end up playing make everyone feel worse not better.  As much as they want to get rid of the past, that is the most familiar, and unless our child has an unusually high sense of adventure, the trepidation of the future are worse than the trappings of the past.

If we remember that most of us couldn’t wait to grow up so we could start acting like kids again, we will probably figure out that our kids have the same confusion going on, inside and out.  So as painful as it is for us, it is our job to help, not hinder this process.  (Sorry mom’s.)

What can we do?

For starters ,hug them whenever you get the chance, because the chances will become more rare every minute.

Tell them you love them at least once a day, and learn creative ways of doing so.

Let them earn more responsibility.  Waiting until they are eighteen and then cutting them loose is not the way to go, unless you want them to explode now and later. Neither is giving a child too much responsibility too soon.  A gradual earned increase is the best (not the easiest) plan.  As with the parable of the talents, ” you have been responsible for a few things, I will give you more.”  The best reward a young person can receive from you is is more responsibility, and autonomy.  And conversely, the best consequence for irresponsible behavior is removal of privileges.  Adulthood is earned.

If we planted a garden and it did not grow we would be disappointed.   So as your child is stretching his wings, help him fly, a bit at a time.  But tie a string to his big toe, at least for now.  You will find that as a parent, you will again experience growth (and growing pains) as your child grows.  Because they need you to be more as they become more.

To quote  dear friend, ” We can’t wait for the change, then we weep when it begins….”  Yes, my friend, but joy comes in the morning.  Just imagine for a moment, the pain felt by those who never get to watch their children grow.

So go to the hardware store and buy a toe rope, and hang on for life.  But like flying a kite, keep letting the string out, and watch them soar!

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