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When Brayden was a day or two old, my Mom said to me, “You have to realize that your goal as you raise him is to become independent of you. You are preparing him to be able to leave you someday and take care of himself.”
I loved this thought. My parents have always been so well-adjusted to my big milestones like driving, dating, graduating, moving out, getting a degree, getting married, having a baby…These have all been happy moments in life for them. I am sure they have had their pangs of sadness as they saw I was getting older, perhaps even tears, but in my presence it was a happy time.
Some parents out there seem to want their children to be very dependent on them. They don’t want to let go and allow the child to grow up and function on his own. I understand the reason. You love your child unconditionally. You have spent so much time caring for this child. You have sacrificed so much. When Kaitlyn moved to a toddler bed, I cried for a minute (though not in front of her). I get that. However, we have to let go. I personally think if you allow your child to grow up and move on, he will happily come around to visit more often, whereas if you cling to your child and mourn his every milestone, he will likely try to develop some space between the two of you so he can move on in his life.
This is one thing that really attracted me to Babywise in the first place. Babywise is about giving your child the tools to survive without you. The -wise books help you teach your child how to think for himself and how to make moral decisions. It helps you raise your child to be a functioning member of society who can contribute positively to the state of the world. It isn’t about fulfilling your own desires for feeling needed. It isn’t about indulging your child’s every whim. It isn’t about giving him an easy childhood free of difficulty or disappointment.
You only have your child at home with you for about 18-20 years, dependent on culture. He has a long life to live beyond that. Be sure that as you parent him, you look beyond today to help him learn skills for tomorrow. Keep that long-term perspective. You can then enjoy your “child” on the level of friend, and joy in seeing him in his success as an adult.