When I was a four year old lad, I became very angry with my mother. I do not remember why I was mad but I was SO mad that I announced that I was going to run away from home. Hearing this plan of mine, my mom said in a calm and loving way, “let me help you pack.” Man oh man, I was floored. I didn’t expect that response!
My mother’s suggestion that she would help me pack helped me grasp that I had choices. I could leave if I wanted to. She knew that I wouldn’t have gotten far, she would not have let me out of her eye sight and she would not let me know that she was watching me – a very loving response to my anger. I chose to cancel my travel plans and have never regretted that decision.
One thing we parents must do is let go of our children. Her willingness to let me go in this instance and many more helped me grow into an independent, productive adult. I fell off of my bike many times while learning to ride it (she taught me how to ride a bike) and she let me decide if I was ready to try again that day or wait to try again another day.
So, let go of your children – gently and lovingly. Be there to pick them up after they fall or fail – it is in the falling and failing that they are likely to learn valuable lessons. And cheer them on when they succeed!