Last Friday when my son got off the camp bus he looked older. Let me rephrase that… he was older. He’d spent 8 days and 7 nights at church camp and had grown up in many ways. Not only did he look like he’d grown an inch, he walked differently and spoke differently. I had dueling emotions of sadness and joy. I am not sure I’m ready for this, my little boy becoming a man.
What do we do: hold on tighter, let go completely, or try to pave the road for the child to become a young adult? I think in most situations it’s a little of all three. How parents react in these situations can set the tone for our relationships with our children moving forward.
I started with the first reaction and held him tight. I gave him the hug of all hugs and would not let him pull away for a good two minutes. (In teenage boy time that’s an hour!) He allowed it because I didn’t hug him in front of all of his friends. He still likes hugs, just not in front of others so I try to honor his request and respect his feelings. adulthood
As we spent the next couple hours in the car I asked him questions and I tried my best to leave long wait times to let him answer. At one point he said, “Mom, I know you have a lot more questions but would you give me 15 minutes to just listen to music?” All I wanted to do was hear about the week, in detail. It was a very long 15 minutes. But, during the wait time, I realized a lot of the questions I thought I wanted answered I didn’t. The quiet time allowed me to let go and ask specific, important questions instead of the nagging mom-style questions. 3 ways parents can help kids navigate from childhood to adulthood.
After hearing about all the different adventures he’d had at camp I realized that he had paved his own way all week long. I was not there to help guide him or offer suggestions. He was on his own. He spoke of his great counselors and the camp staff that helped him with questions about life and faith. He looked to others and within himself to navigate. And I know, that’s exactly what he should do.adulthood
Throughout our children’s lives we continually need to allow kids to be held tight in our love, break free from us, and create their own way. This is not always easy but necessary. The more we practice the better off our children will be in life.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity,
but of power, love, and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick
Mom of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.
Author of Own Your Education: A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in School (And Life)
Check out Megan’s book, Own Your Education:
A Student’s Guide to Greater Success in (And Life)