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Letting Go: When Your Kid Needs You Less

When your kids are babies and toddlers, they NEED you. They need you for everything. Feed them, bathe them, wipe their bottoms. Play-dates and social times require hand-holding. Sometimes it feels like your child is literally glued to your body. As we all have come to realize, that time although it feels like it lasts for-ev-er, it goes by in a blink.

In what seems like a matter of minutes you have a school-aged child attempting to navigate the norms of school, sports, and social lives. (Social lives that often seem to have more action than your own!) How your child needs you transforms. They can get their own cereal, get dressed on their own, and attempt to clean their own rooms. You become the homework helper, chauffeur, and the hygiene checker.

The biggest change of school-aged kids: you are suddenly NOT COOL anymore. Yes, you read that right, you are not cool. This is just the start of that, I heard we parents get more uncool the older our kids get. Suddenly, instead of “going on adventures” with mommy and hanging out with you, your child wants to be with friends and go to school functions but not to actually spend time with you. They run off to find friends, even if it is someone they won’t see again! I have found myself lately, at family events, alone. My son quickly running off to be with the other kids. Basically saying “forget you, mommy!” 

Having him wander, under my careful supervision, of course, to be with the other kids is healthy! Even if it does hurt my feelings just a bit. I know he is not the only nine-year-old doing this. Kids need to be around each other outside the walls of the classroom or baseball diamond. The best part about this is kids are engaging with others. They are meeting new peers, and that is good for them! We as parents have to sit back and let it happen. Even though it is not always easy to do. Will it always be roses and unicorns? Nope. Will there be disagreements? Um, yes, yes there will be.

Here’s the thing without us hovering over them they will learn to solve disagreements and make good decisions. Or, in some cases learn the consequences of making the wrong decision. Now, I am talking about school-aged kids, bad decisions here are usually limited to trying to use another kids fidget spinner. Kids are able to problem solve by themselves without our interfering. We spend our time loving on our kids, showing them manners, how to be polite, how to be kind. Why, do we suddenly not trust them to be able to demonstrate those emotions outside our grasp? They can do it!

We can sit back, observe from afar, I mean not too far away, we still need to keep them an eye on them. But, we can observe them being the “good” kids we know they are. Trust yourself, and your parenting to know that you are setting up your children to form successful friendships and connections. Then sit back, and watch the friendships form.

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