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For Mothers

For Mothers: Being Stretched

Mothers Being Stretched

I’m being stretched. It has nothing in particular to do with parenthood but the message to me is clear and it can be very useful to we Mums:

The Message

Sometimes we are tested beyond what is comfortable but we need to persevere -> to go through the s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g -> to grow as people and in our relationships with other people.

There is no situation more important to letting go control than in parenting. The timing is gradual and dependant upon the age and maturity of the child. But let go we must! That process is a significant part of our being stretched as mothers.

Letting Go Control

I wrote last time a bit about control. Personally, I think control is over-rated and over-used, as a concept for parenting. Rather than look upon us as controlling our children, I think we need to shift our attitude and instead, steer and guide them. As children grow, their needs for independence can be encouraged — not by relinquishing our responsibility as parents, but by encouraging the children to make decisions and to learn how to follow-through on them. 

Yes, we need to instil self-discipline in our children and this will sometimes call for us to put up boundaries and ensure the youngsters stay within them. That is not so much about controlling them but is rather more about teaching them self control, self discipline and healthy independence.

At the same time, let’s release our children by letting them make age-relevant decisions and learn the consequences of those decisions. Can we support them rather than rescue them? And in the process, the more self aware we are of our own worries and anxieties, the better we can overcome our fears, enabling our children to thrive as they become more independent, socially responsible and mature.

Mothers Stretching

Eventually, our children will lead their own lives. As mothers, innately, we want them to live enriched, happy lives. Part of this will come as they learn healthy independence from us: not having to fight their way to freedom but having joy in our release of them into their own lives.

Sometimes we might find it hard to let go, to allow our children to explore their independence. What if they make a wrong decision? What if they choose the wrong friendship group? What if they take a risk and get hurt physically or emotionally or academically?

That’s part of the stretching: for them and consequently, for us.

When we allow our children to make age appropriate decisions, they will learn, and grow more as a result.

Who hasn’t learned most through mistakes? Who hasn’t learned most through pain?

So, mothers: being stretched is a sign that we are growing. And when we grow, others around us grow, and than includes our children.

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For Mothers

For Mothers: Respect our offspring

Our children will always be our children… Mothers do not give up motherhood, do we?

And yet, be must let go. Is this a contradiction? Not at all.

We must let our children become adults. It’s a gradual process and is age and culture related. But inevitably, we must entrust them to themselves, respect their choices and hope and pray all their choices are safe and sensible. To build in our children self respect, we must pay respect to our children.

Respecting our offspring

We must let go, and we must respect our offspring in order for them to grow into responsible adults, having self respect, motivation and dignity.

That’s my opinion.

The place to start is by showing them respect. How can we do that? Give them room to make decisions and to discover the results of those decisions so they can learn. The more they learn when they are at home, the better they can adjust when they are on their own in the big wide world.

Protection

I also believe our children need our protection. Some decisions they may not be ready for and are not age appropriate. Some decisions will have life-changing consequences, and so those decisions are better to be left to them when they have more life experience.

As we show them respect, give them room, let them make choices, they will discover their own ways of thinking. And they will begin to apply what they’ve been shown by us, in due course.

There is an expression: Teach a child the way he should go, and when he grows up he will not depart from it.

When we give them guidance, and good role modelling for sound behaviour and decision-making, then they too will practice the same as they grow. Yes, they will express themselves differently from how we may like them too, yes they may exhibit their freedom from us. And yet, they will return to what works, when they’ve tested the world.

Moving forward

Letting go can be a challenge for us. It is for them too. But as we gently and gradually give them room to go on their own journey, they will move forward with confidence and hope. That is my belief.

How do we let go?

We keep giving them away, like a father gives the bride away to the groom: respectfully, hopefully, and with love. We keep surrendering our desires for them and leave them to build upon their onw. We keep from interfering in matters that do not require an adult’s interference.

There’s a lot to unpack.

What do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts…