For a protective parent who’s seen the child since a baby, at some point we start finding it challenging to accept the son or daughter’s increasing independence. We still want to protect the child, and warn the child about how dangerous the world is. Sometimes unknowingly, in our very words we start creating a dangerous world for the child, and an insecure child who cannot live without the parent.
This is what we want – we want to always be relevant and needed. But is it what the child needs?
It needs a parent to find that courage to allow the child to explore on his or her own, and yet of course while providing some security from a distance. The courage to set the child free. To trust in the child’s intelligence… to have the patience to allow the child to make mistakes and learn from them and keep going, while being there as a reliable backup. There’s the overwhelming desire to just step in and say – don’t do this – do that – don’t do that – don’t fall – don’t get hurt. Maybe we can remember that getting up after falling, was part of us growing up as well.
The classic movie Finding Nemo shows a very protective clown fish (lives in a coral reef) dad of his son Nemo. Marlin’s usually telling his son “you think you can do these things but you just can’t, Nemo” or “its dangerous out there”. But Nemo gets caught by a diver, and Marlin goes in search of his son. Its more than just a cartoon movie for kids – there are a lot of insights about parenting and commitment and trusting in going with the flow of life.
Growing up is not just for children, but for us supposedly all-knowing grown-up parents as well 🙂