While our children are reaching out for more control of their lives, we are working so hard to maintain control.
Ah, summer....just the word elicits certain delightful memories- the stillness of air, or a soft breeze; the delicate fragrance of a flower as it wafts by, or of barbecue; even a summer rain that left you wet but not chilled. Most of us find it such a comforting time. How sad it can be to prepare to say good bye to this time of ease and family togetherness.
As the nights begin to get cooler, it is unavoidable, autumn is on its way. We can hear the rustle of the leaves; and that distinct smell of fire places. We are thinking about sweaters, and school and schedules that were so relaxed just a minute ago.
But really, what is so significant about the transition of one season to another? Why do we often feel a sense of melancholy as seasons change? Is it because of the impending passage of our children from one stage into the next? The recognition that time is passing by and they are moving more and more towards independence? While our children are reaching out for more control of their lives, we are working so hard to maintain control. How do we make peace with the inevitable? How do we both grow through this “natural” transition?
Look at your children, one at a time, and reflect on how have each one has grown and changed this year. Has their attitude improved? Have they increased their problem solving skills? Are they motivated to complete everyday responsibilities without your intervening to the point of feeling like a nag? Do you like the friends they have chosen? Do they own up to their mistakes and try to learn from them?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then you can breathe a little more easily. You can trust in their ability to accomplish the tasks they are expected to, and you have been parenting effectively. This allows the opportunity for you to offer them more space and explain how they have earned your respect.
Set new expectations for them, as you reward them with a little more freedom. For a younger child, a half hour later bed-time can demonstrate that they have earned this gift; for an older child, a little later curfew on the weekends reinforces your approval of their more mature decision making.
You may be wondering why it was mentioned earlier that both you and your children will all be growing through this passage of milestones and time. Letting your children have a safe space in which to grow and thrive is an illustration of your ability to be fluid and flexible in your role as parent. Conscious parenting means remembering to stop and re-assess, so that you are not basing your parenting decisions on children who are no longer in the same stage they were when you first set a plan into motion.
Soon the leaves of autumn will blow away and will whip into the cold of winter, flowed by the smell of spring and the hopefulness as we anticipate the quiet summer that is soon to come. As the seasons change we recognize and acknowledge, so do our children.