June 23rd, 2010
When my children were little, it was “Mommy, look at me”, “Mommy, stay here with me.” Now it’s “Bye, mom”, “I won’t be home for dinner, mom.”
As my children grow older, my relationship with them inevitably changes. With the turn of the clock, they go from total dependence on me to total independence from me. And there is no looking back.
As I deal with my emotions over the changes in my role as a mom, I reflect on how my relationship with my own parents changed when I was growing up.
I had a good relationship with my parents, but in my high school years, I didn’t want to be with them at home. Going out with friends was much more fun. Any expressed desire from my parents to spend time with them was viewed by me as restraint, and I resented it. I was not rebellious. I was a good kid. I merely wanted to be independent and have my own life. When I went away to college, I never looked back. My parents were still a part of my life, but just a small part.
It is a natural progression of life that our role as a parent changes as our children grow. Our role diminishes. It’s not personal, and it’s not about you. Even if you’ve been the greatest parent, your children will still want to leave and have their chance at life the way I did.
I am learning to accept this change, and even enjoy this stage of life with my children growing independent.
Some of you have children in high school or college who are becoming less and less connected with you. Perhaps your college children are home for the summer, and your relationship with them is strained. I’ve been hearing that from a few parents recently. It’s a part of adjusting to the change in our role as parents. Don’t take it personally. And don’t hold on to the habit of relating to them as if they were young again. It’s time to allow life to move on.