A friend and I were chatting the other day about how our children are sometimes privy to our personal struggles. We both confessed to feeling guilty about it.
“But at least the boys won’t freak out when a woman cries in front of them when they are older!” joked my friend.
The truth of this really struck me.
While we are raising children, we are also raising men and women.
We are responsible for their physical, emotional and social development so that they can go out into the world as fully functional adults.
We need to raise them to be compassionate, independent and capable.
We need to raise them to not need us.
They can’t be sheltered and protected forever. Being a helicopter parent may keep them safe while they are young but it won’t teach them to think for themselves. It won’t teach them to problem-solve or to use initiative.
As parents we want to do the best for our kids, but often we interpret this misguidedly as doing everything for our kids.
By teaching them life skills early on, we are actually protecting them from the shock of the real world. We are equipping them to be independent and self-aware.
My kids already understand that people struggle. They understand that being an adult is a lot of responsibility. They understand adults cry, make mistakes and don’t always have the answers.
While part of my mourns their loss of innocence in this way, I also believe they will be benefited by this knowledge.
It is important to teach our kids to try to resolve their issues first before jumping to their rescue. We will always be there to have their back, of course. But they need to have the skills to deal with life’s challenges. And as their parents we can watch with pride as their confidence grows when they are successful!
Raising kids to not need us is a tough reality as parent.
It’s probably one of the only jobs where the ultimate goal is to become redundant.