Thursday, 10 December 2009

What are some of the steps towards inter-dependence?

I was coaching another Mum today and as a result of our conversation realised what a short period of time it actually is that our children really depend on us. Certainly by the age of twelve they no longer want to do stuff with Mum, it's much more cool to hang out with their friends.

It struck me that for much of the time when children are very young - mine are 3 and 2 - one often finds oneself thinking if only they could do that themselves. Recently my eldest has got into the habit of jumping out of bed half an hour after lights out, having shouted for me because she needs the toilet. I have insisted that she go by herself then she comes downstairs to find me and asks me to tuck her up again. I can find this an intrusion into my time rather than seeing it as endearing.

And yet when our kids decide that we are superfluous to requirements and become more independent, there is a part of us that encourages this change because it is the first step on the path to adulthood. If we are honest another part of us is saddened by the loss of those moments spent together in the park or whatever it was we did together. How many parents give themselves space to acknowledge these feelings or ever voice them to their children?

This is one of life's conundrums. It seems to me that one of our roles as parents is to enjoy whatever stage that we are in with our children. The other is to help our children discover inter-dependence as this is the route to a greater sense of contentment in adulthood. Isn't life about finding the balance between the urge to belong and be accepted and the need to find our own destiny whilst being in relationship with others?

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