There are many stages in our lives that we deem as milestones: passing the driver’s test, graduating from high school, receiving a degree/diploma, getting engaged and then married, you get the picture. Often times we think of these milestones in the point of view of the person that they’re happening to, but have we ever thought of them in the point of view of others in our lives?
For parents, there are many different firsts: baby’s first word, first day of kindergarten, first date, the first time their child moves out. These times can be difficult, so let’s take a step back and see how we can learn to let go so that these milestones are a little bit easier to handle.
Take a Step Back and Take a Deep Breathe
Sometimes we can get so caught up in the moments that we don’t think before we act. In situations where we’re given time to plan ahead (first day of kindergarten, marriage), it’s easier for us to process our emotions. But in instances that are more sudden (baby’s first words, first date), our emotions can sometimes get the best of us and control our actions.
The first and most important thing to do is to take a step back away from the situation and re-adjust your mindset so that you’re thinking and acting with a logical perspective. Take a deep breath (or two), your blood needs oxygen to function, so a little more won’t hurt. Then process the situation slowly. Each time you begin to feel emotional, take another deep breathe. Repeat the process until you feel that you’ve accessed the whole situation and can come to terms with it.
Remember that these milestones are an integral part of life, and you once lived through your own ones too. The only reason that your child is going through them is because you were successful as a parent and raised them to get to these stages in life.
Be Open and Accept Different Opinions
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own opinion and ideas that it becomes difficult to accept that others may have different ones. In the way that we all have a unique set of fingerprints, we all have unique opinions. It’s a little frightening to think that the children we raise under our views can grow up to have such drastically different ones. However, that’s a fact of life and the sooner we accept it, the sooner our lives can become much easier.
Becoming more willing to accept different opinions allows others the ability to open up and trust us more. You know that feeling when you meet someone who has similar likes as you, and as you both start talking, you begin to get more and more excited? Well the same can happen when two people with differing opinions are willing to accept each other.
If you take the time to talk to your children, figure out how they feel, what they’re thought process was leading up to an action, they will become more willing to open up to you further. This is how you build a healthy and trustful relationship.
Give your child the chance to voice their opinion completely before you start forming your own argument. And make sure that when you respond, that you show that you listened by addressing their point of view while standing behind yours. It’s okay to not agree, as long as you show that you’re stilling to listen. Sometimes all your kids want is a shoulder to lean on.
So when your daughter comes home excited to tell you about this super cute boy in her science class that happens to have his eyebrow pierced and likes to wear leather jackets with studs, hear her out. You might easily be the first person she talks to in the future when the cute boy next door that gets straight A’s asks her if she’s ready to have sex.
Let Go by Giving Advice but Remaining Supportive
It’s okay to give advice but sometimes your children won’t take it. Some of us learn best visually, some physically. There are many other ways to learn including: from others’ mistakes and from making mistakes of our own. So it may just be best to leave them be and let your kids make those scary mistakes. As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. They’ll learn from the experience and grow to make better ones.
So what happens when the two of you don’t quite see eye-to-eye? It’s important to remain supportive and show that you’ll always be there for your kids no matter what happens. Keeping open arms helps to maintain that level of trust that you have built and you’ll always be the first ones that they come running back to when problems arise.
After all, to let go is the hardest thing to do. But if you’re a successful parent, then going through these milestones in their lives means that you did the right thing. Now the only thing to do is to make sure that they always come back. Family is nevertheless, forever.
How have you coped with watching your babies (because no matter how old, they’ll always be babies to you) grow up?
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