Parenting Lesson #5093: Less is More and Letting Go

 

Prayers Into Space, by Chris Roberts Antieu, http://www.antieaugallery.com/shop/nature-night-sky-angels-collection/prayers-into-space/

Mindful Parenting of Teens = Letting Go

If you have a child over the age of ten, you may already know this. So good for you. My friends with much older kids told me this years ago and I didn’t want to hear it.

                     Parenting of adolescents sometimes means letting go, looking away, or stepping out for a beer with our friends. Sometimes less is more.

I see children over forty who are still unable to leave home, live their true sexual orientation, or change occupations. They feel stuck in their hometown or childhood role or vocation. They hate the thought of devastating their parents by being who they truly are. Adult children get depressed after decades of suppressing their desires.

I see adult children who drink too much as they try to numb the guilt they feel about disappointing their parents (or even wanting to).

I see parents who believe something is wrong because their 25-year-old doesn’t want to visit every week.

I see grown-ass parents who drive their 18-year-olds to rehearsal and wait outside in the car as if they must monitor their teen’s safety as they walk from the building. I relate, because I’d love to still be doing that.

But we can’t. We have to let go. Those young adults who still look like their baby pictures need LOTS of room to experiment with who they are.

. . . which is why Parenting Lesson #5093 matters so much. See if this list of ideas resonates, or if it makes you cringe. (I am cringing at the same time I’m learning.)

  1. Sometimes mindful parenting involves us being out of the room, out of earshot, across town, or at least in the backyard. Distance is our friend now.
  2. We give our kids more when we control them less. And we really can’t control them anyway. After about the age of 12, we could barely keep a stranglehold for a few years, but then they’d want nothing to do with us.
  3. Often, our teens need us to back off and shut up. Fewer words = better perspective.
  4. Although we have LOADS of good advice, earned through decades of living, and although we want to spare them our mistakes, our kids need us to do more meditating and less talking.
  5. Sometimes the best mindful parenting involves radical self-care: taking walks, getting out with friends, making art, sleeping well, doing yoga, getting our nails done . . . (This is NOT selfish. This is teaching by being.)

When we over-control our kids, we lose them emotionally (and sometimes physically). If we over-identify with them (note to self here), we disappear as the role models they need us to be and turn into heavy weights for them to carry.

Mindful parenting means taking care of ourselves and then meditating for our children’s safety, peace, and joy.

There’s good in all of it (even though it hurts like hell).

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