Let Your Children G(r)ow
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jane E. Dudley UKCP Registered Pyschotherapist.
18th September, 20130 Comments
What a lonely time it can be for mums in late September. Your child has gone! The baby who came into the world through you, whom you have cared for day and night, nurtured in all the ways that parents do, is entering the next stage of their lives - and, in part, without you.
This departure can bring a whole confusion of love, longing, conflict and grief. On the one hand you want your ‘child’ to grow and develop to their full potential; you want them to have fun, achieve, and most of all enjoy life, perhaps in ways you didn’t get the chance to. On the other there is a hole that their leaving has created. The bedroom is empty. There’s nothing to tidy. The urgent journeys to and from schools, clubs and friends have stopped. It can feel as though someone has died.
Tougher still is knowing you may sometimes have longed for time and space away from them; you may be left with guilt now at ever having had such a thought, and perhaps filled with regret for time passing.
But this is the price we pay for letting our children go and grow. This is love, and it must happen. We can’t and shouldn’t possess our children, even though we want to hold them close and never let them go. They need to take risks, have this adventure called life, learn to cope without us, suffer the separation. We in turn must learn to bear the moments when they fall without rushing too quickly to catch them. ‘Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes’ says Gandhi. This is how they grow inside, at the core. They will find their own ground and ways to manage life, for we will not be here forever. We prepare them for this.
Therapy rooms are often home to those who didn’t get the chance to become separate human beings, with their own individual thoughts, hopes and dreams. Who were too afraid, or not encouraged to leave home or to discover for themselves who they were, or can be. Therapy offers an opportunity to catch up.
Then, when the mourning is done, it is a time for Mums - and Dads too - to discover who they are again, perhaps for the first time. This life’s adventure might just be starting for them too. One of the biggest burdens for young people is the unlived life of the parent. It makes them responsible when it shouldn't. Letting go doesn't mean losing, but simply accepting that life always moves on, and is how it is. You will be there for them to come home to, if and when they need.
'What you set free is yours forever.
Clutch it and it is gone'.
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