Parenting – Questions Asked:
What specifically would I like to improve?
Letting my child go, what would this look like?
What does being a parent mean to me now?
What is age appropriate parenting?
What are my goals in parenting now?
Is what I’m doing working?
What do they want?
What do I want?
How can I have a positive relationship with my child?
What does it mean to let go of my child?
Is what I am doing now helping my child become a mature adult?
What are my fears?
What are my concerns?
Am I helping them or easing my own anxieties by giving advice, protecting, rescuing, etc?
How can I overcome my fears and anxiety?
What does letting my child fail look like and what does that mean to them and to me?
What is best for my child now?
What is best for me as a person now?
What are my hopes for them?
What are my hopes for me?
How do I help them be responsible?
When is it time to ask my adult child who is living at home to leave?
I sacrificed much for my children, gave a lot… am I expecting something in return?
Have I accomplished everything I wanted to as a parent?
When am I done parenting?
Moving on… what does this mean?
Parents – Things Explored
This is a transition that both parent AND child need to make.
As parents we are usually a year or two or more behind, we may treat our 16 year old like a 14 year old. This causes problems…
Understanding what you (as a parent and a person) want now and how to get there.
Contracting as a way of managing expectations, rules, chores, activities.
By 15 they know what we expect of them and what we are going to say to them. So what are we trying to accomplish when we tell them something again and again and again…. Try this, the next time you are going to tell them something, ask them, “what am I about to say to you now”. You will be surprised by their answer.
It is important to know when and how to listen, and when to speak.
When you do speak: what to say and how to say it.
The most difficult thing to do as a parent can be not speaking, to not tell them what to do, to not “protect” them and to not treat them like the child that they may be acting like.
Treating them like an adult and letting them rise to it.
Give them choices, not telling them what to do (even if it is between what we perceive as an obvious good choice and an obvious bad one).
Creating a one-page agreement to live by (expectations, responsibilities, chores – parent & child). It needs to be negotiated & agreed to by both parent(s) and child.
It’s hard to admit, but sometimes what are doing is trying to make ourselves feel better. Have we really thought through what they want, what they need and what’s best for them?
Reflect on your own path to maturity and responsibility (probably a bit bumpy).
You would like to “show them the way” to save them time, grief and pain. But it’s the wasted time, the grief and the pain that are the best teachers as they transition to become mature independent adults.
Today’s generation verses ours… the differences.
Accepting difference (it doesn’t mean that you have to like it)
Our culture doesn’t teach parents how to transition, how to launch our kids and how to let go.
It’s important that you hand them the baton and let them experience the consequences of their actions. This is best done sooner than later.
Life is hazardous and they will get hurt, but consider what you really want for them and what will happen if you don’t “let go”.
We want the best for our kids. And part of it may be that we want them to have what we never did. They may not want what we want. It may be time to let them figure it out and for them to get on with their life and you with yours.
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to model a life that is lived well.
As our children launch we need to transition from authority to influence. They need to take responsibility for their lives and we need to let them (and let them do it their way).
Focusing on your child can be a way of avoiding moving on to the next stage of your own life.
Negotiating & navigating a peaceful living environment.
Living with regret.
Accepting our failures.
Letting them be who they are (not what you hoped and dreamed they would be).
Living with an empty nest.
Please give me a call and let’s have a conversation to see how counseling can help.
Marriage & Family Therapist
License # 52487 in California USA