Let Go; When It’s Time To
Loosen The Parental Grip
On my desk, I have a rock. I see it everyday. The rock is inscribed with the words “Let Go.”
It’s message is becoming more powerful by the day. It really stands for “Let Go, Let God.” But I think it also means, as a parent, it may be time to loosen my Papa Bear grip on the 8 ½-year-old twins a little bit, and let go, at least just a little.
I was acutely reminded of that on a car ride with my son Gregory.
Papa: Gregory, do you want to go to the party with all of your friends on Saturday?
Gregory: I don’t know.
Papa: It’ll be fun, you should go.
Gregory: Papa, I really don’t like it when you make excuses for me and try to convince me to go places. I will go but I don’t like you making excuses.
Papa: Ummm… (thinking silently of my shrinks number at this point), Okay.
When did he figure me out? When did he become so astute to my parental controlling behavior? When did my myopia become so strong that I couldn’t see what I was doing?
This week, Michael and I did something we have never done before – left the kids with a close friend for 24 hours and took a trip to Las Vegas. In 8 ½years we never left the kids for a day. Never! One of us was always with them. But when the opportunity came up – we decided a 24-hour trip was ok. We were nervous the day we left. What if the plane crashed, car accident, asteroid hits earth – you know all the psychotic episodes of doom that every parent conjures up in their head.
The trip was as necessary as it was fulfilling. We saw a show, stayed up past our 8:30pm bedtime, gambled without using tuition money, had a great meal that didn’t have spaghetti or peanut in it, and paid back the sexual favors we owed one another without worrying about if we were “too loud”.
What I realized was that parenting may not just be about letting go of my kid. After all, in less than 10 years, they’ll be on their way to college and starting their adult life. Maybe it’s time to for me as a parent to “let go” a little bit – to my own rigidness. “Let go” to the incessant worrying, “let go” to the overly possessiveness of my kids and become a little bit more passive – letting them become more independent. I mean if I don’t – how the heck are we going to win the money back we lost in Vegas?
What about your? When did you realize it was time to start loosening the grip on your kids? Do you make it a point to get away without the kids from time to time?