Growing up, many of us couldn’t wait to be adults, free from the rules and restrictions of childhood. But once we reach adulthood, we realize it comes with responsibilities and challenges.
The transition from carefree childhood to responsible adulthood is filled with seemingly mundane tasks – such as paying bills and changing A/C filters. But once you become a parent, the real adventure begins.
Parenting is a lifelong commitment, one that never truly ends.
Striking That Perfect Balance: How to Support a Growing, Independent Child
As your child matures, they need a reassuring presence that supports and encourages their autonomy. It’s all about finding the right balance between allowing them to make decisions and be independent while being there as an ever-present source of guidance, ensuring lessons are learned through mistakes.
Drawing on parents’ experiences can be a great way to gain valuable insight and advice. Although I strongly believe in being independent, sometimes it’s nice to learn from loved ones who have been where you are today – tapping into their wisdom is like unlocking an invaluable resource.
Evolving Into Mentor, Friend, and Teacher:
As a parent, you become a teacher, a mentor, and a friend. And as your child ages, your role as a parent evolves with them.
Parenting is a journey of constant surprises, especially when dealing with two kids at different life stages. With my 7-year-old daughter, I’m experiencing the joys and challenges of raising a young child – while also developing an entirely new kind of relationship with my almost 20-year-old!
To my surprise, I’ve found myself taking on more than just an advising role; my son still needs me to navigate many areas of his life — from providing travel advice to having someone who will always listen without judgment.
He had been a seasoned traveler, accompanying me on nearly one hundred different flights before – yet when the time came for him to fly alone, you’d think it was his first journey. He kept in contact with me throughout every step of the process; each conversation was filled with questions and revelations that this solo expedition required something altogether new from him. Oy vey!
Strengthening the Parent-Child Bond
A timeless reward comes from the never-ending parenting journey – an enduring connection between parent and child. Despite life’s challenges, forging strong bonds with your children is essential in helping them reach adult milestones with love and understanding that lasts forever.
Here are five tips that might help as your child ages and parenting evolves:
- Find a balance between supporting your child and allowing them to make their own decisions. It can be tempting to step in and solve your child’s problems, but letting them learn from their mistakes and gain independence is essential.
- Keep the lines of communication open with your child. This means actively listening to them, validating their feelings, and providing guidance when necessary. Make time for regular check-ins, whether they’re in person, over the phone, or via text.
- Embrace your role as a lifelong mentor and guide to your child. Even if they don’t need your help with day-to-day tasks, they will still benefit from your wisdom, experience, and support.
- Don’t be afraid to set boundaries with your child. While you want to be there for them, it’s also essential to maintain your own life and priorities. Make sure you take time for self-care, hobbies, and relationships outside your parent role.
- Celebrate the small moments and milestones with your child. Whether it’s a high school graduation, a first job, or a new relationship, take the time to acknowledge and appreciate the special moments in your child’s life. These are the memories that will stay with you forever.
Accepting Your Parenting Role – Embrace It for the Long Term
Parenting is something we all strive to get right, but that can be harder than it seems. As parents, we need the insight and determination to know when our advice should be given or withheld – while ensuring not to overindulge in what could ultimately become unhealthy enabling behavior.
Balancing these two sides of parenting always takes an incredible amount of effort – which only proves how dedicated a parent must genuinely be.
Be good to yourself and know that although you tried your hardest, sometimes you may be disappointed in the decisions they make, but it’s part of growing up.
You weren’t perfect despite how you may feel, so you can’t expect them to be perfect or without failure either.
The role of a parent is lifelong, and it’s essential to embrace it fully. Being present and supportive while encouraging independence is critical.
While it’s natural to assume your parenting role will shift over time, the reality is that you will always be there for your child, even when they’re grown.
The bond between a parent and child is unbreakable and something to cherish and embrace for years.
Last modified: March 7, 2023