Kids: At Some Point You Have to Let Them Go

Kids grow up. That may be obvious to you, but there are parents who do not seem to grasp the idea. They treat their adult children as though they are still adolescents, refusing to let them go and live their own lives. It is not a good situation for anyone.

It’s interesting to note that human beings seem to be the only species to demonstrate this problem. Take a look at the natural world and you’ll find all sorts of animals letting their offspring go and never looking back. Some species of birds actually kick their young ones out of the nest. There are reptile species that leave their eggs and never return. Hatchlings are left to fend for themselves from day one.

This is not to say that human beings should treat their children like newly hatched turtles on a beach. Rather, it is to say that all kids have to be let go at some point. And those who do not want to go have to be forced to do so.

1.Learning to Interfere

At Relationships & More, a Rye, NY counseling center, their adolescent counseling program frequently assists parents and kids who just cannot get along. A common complaint among kids is that their parents interfere too much. Sometimes it is only a matter of perception. But other times, the complaints are legitimate.

What must be understood is that some parents learned to interfere from their own parents. They tried to grow up, but their parents would not let them. They tried to be independent as adults, but their parents were never quite able to truly cut the cord. Now, they are on the same path with their own kids.

In order to grow into independent adults, adolescents and teens need to gradually spread their wings. They need to gradually enjoy greater independence as they demonstrate a level of responsibility. They also need to be allowed to make mistakes from which they can learn.

Parents with a tendency to interfere in this process can be overbearing. Their inability to step back only makes it more difficult for their children to grow up and become responsible adults. Who pays the price in the end? The kids.

2. It’s Time to Fly

Sometimes kids cannot launch because their parents won’t let them. Other times they don’t launch because they do not want to. There is a big difference here. Parents may do everything necessary to set their children up for successful adulthood. They may prepare a child in every way they know how. But what if that child refuses to grow up?

Sometimes parents have no other choice but to say, “it’s time to fly,” before kicking Junior out of the nest. There are just times when Johnny has to be forced to go it alone. And yes, it’s not easy for parents to do. They don’t want their kids to suffer. They do not want them to endure challenging times. But it’s often those difficult times that force an adult child to actually behave like an adult.

The downside to all of this is that there is no template. There is no simple formula that parents can follow to properly launch their kids. One thing parents can do is observe others who have already done it. They can ask questions and try to emulate what they’ve seen.

Kids grow up. We all know that. And at some point, we have to let go. Those who choose to not go may have to be forced into it. Letting go is not easy for parents, but nothing in life is.