Having difficulty letting go and what to do must be described near the chapter on authorized Independence in the non-existing parent manual.
They just graduated from high school, gaining a form of independence, but the mental pictures of what that means to us as parents is quite different then how our kids view it. For a brief moment we convince ourselves we have prepared them with the knowledge it takes to be independent, yet the moment they grasp the diploma from the principal’s hand they see freedom from control, influence, support…Independence!
High school graduation is just the tip of the iceberg, because accepting parental independence gets worse the moment he door shuts and heads off to college.
Doctor Somov encourages you to, “proclaim your psychological independence …Self-help, self-care, self-awareness and self-acceptance are patriotic. Stop waging war on yourself: you are doing your best, nonstop, all the time. On some level you know it. Make it official.” Let him go, let him make a mistake, let him learn. If you are honest and think back, my guess your life was not error free either. How handle ourselves is the key.
We know we have got to let go, but we just don’t want to, so we create this world where are in complete control of them for the rest of their lives. That parental transition, okay a Panic feeling you get in the pit of your stomach the moment realize you are no longer in control and you question everything; did you do enough? Is anyone going to question your parenting skills? I believe they call it freaking out.
Doctor Pavel Somov describes this inability to let go as the battle where we “compare [letting go] to the real world that exists [and say] I don’t want this actual world, I want that theoretical world.” You know he’s right even as you fight that temptation to turn-around and check on him as you view his college in your rear view mirror, so keep driving. I am feeling pretty independent, how about you?
So, I thought I would share. Share before my son’s get a chance to pipe in and share that yes, at times I was overly involved and yes, there were times I screwed up. Not sure when, but it hit me and I realized my job as a parent had changed. I was no longer directing I was making him aware. Aware he is not alone. Aware the decisions he makes from this day forward are his. Aware of the benefits he has in front of him. All that is left is to congratulate him; let him know how proud you are of what he has become.
Is it all Kumbyah, No.
So, here are a couple insurance policies you may want to consider:
- Being a Parent: Make sure he knows he can call you for help at any time, anywhere.
- Helping with Academics: Let him know if he needs a tutor just call, you will take care of it, but ask him to do it before it becomes an issue.
- Helping with Laundry: Instead of worrying whether he will wash his clothes correct or not find a local laundry mat where he can take them weekly
- Drinking – Discuss it, it can be Life Altering – Set up the Uber App on his phone tied to your Credit Card
- Make a Parent-Son Promise: Not condoning it, but if he does drink DON’T DRIVE.
- Make a Parent-Son Promise: Again, not condoning it, but if he does drink DON’T RIDE with anyone else or give someone else [who swears they are okay to drive] the keys to his car. Crash where they are or use the Emergency Credit Card.
- Safety-Net: Provide him with an Emergency Credit Card. An additional card that you control, but tell him to use it when he needs too. Depending on whatever it is, assure him you may be upset, but you would rather be upset and have him alive then the alternative.
- Parent-Son Promise: Let him know he is welcome to call anytime, anywhere, but have an Agreed Once-a-Week date. Make the call enjoyable. Discuss is friends, what he is doing for fun…only discuss school if he brings it up.
Enjoy it, as time really does fly.
Until next Blog,