The term “growing up” has taken many shapes over the years. As a child it just meant getting older, the years passed by and as an adolescent it meant slowly accepting more responsibility. As a parent though, I’ve struggled with the definition of growing up. In some circles, growing up means growing apart from your child. I hear comments like “cut the cord already!” They gain more independence from you and in turn you grow apart. Perhaps this is why parents often complain of their teens shutting them out, or disconnecting.
Like most moms I often struggle with the right balance of holding on and letting go. I want my boys to grow confidently into the young men they wish to be, I just would like them to know I will always be there. This parenting dance is one I have not yet mastered and like many before me, and I’m sure many after me, I struggle with whether I’ve accomplished a good balance on a day-to-day basis.
So you see, I don’t think that my boys growing up means that they must grow apart from me. It’s quite the contrary. Taking a more connected approach to my children has opened my eyes to so many different ways to handle all kinds of situations. Seeing beyond the behavior and becoming attuned to their needs has solidified a relationship of mutual respect, and over time has made our connection that much stronger. Doing my best to always listen to their feelings and acknowledge them has created a foundation of trust that has only become more concrete with the passing years. “Leaning In” instead of “Timing Out” when feelings are raw has created a safe space where they can blossom with confidence.
Our family tree has roots, and the longer those roots grow they begin to grow together. Much like our love for each other. The connection has become so deep and so intertwined that eventually you can’t tell where your roots end and theirs begins. The branches will always grow up and out creating their own unique path, but the roots are the same and once they grow together, they can never grow apart.
Post by Erika Villalobos
Photo by Courtney Studios