I find it hard to not try and micromanage little bits and pieces of my daughters life. Since she was born and depended on me to do everything it’s hard for me to get out of that habit. Harder than I had expected, anyway. For the last five or six years anything she wanted done she either had to ask for permission or ask for help. Now that she is going into the second grade she doesn’t need Dad for the little things as much anymore. They thing I have really noticed though is that I find when I am not hovering over her shoulder or impressing my own ideas upon her, not only does she do just fine but she does better than expected. Maybe I can chock that up to a parenting job well done thus far?
I’ve spent a great deal of time since she has been young trying to not only reevaluate myself but evaluate what ways I can improve upon things to make her life better and easier. At some point I just have to realize that I am a Dad, not a boss, someone that can teach by example but not by ruling with an iron fist. She has been every bit as much of a teacher as I have and it is only right that I start learning to let go a little at a time. She doesn’t need help with homework anymore, she can make her own lunch, and picking out her clothes is something she would rather me have nothing to do with anyway! The sooner I was able to come to terms with, or at least remind myself to try, and keep reminding myself that I am a guide not a boss, the better things go. They run smooth, she is proud of herself, she is able to learn she is strong, smart and can do things for herself. These are all qualities I want her to have. I enjoy watching her become her own person with her own ideas and her own personality, and all the while it’s easier for me to just let go and trust in her abilities.
Occasionally I still have a very hard time not wanting to step in and help her every step of the way no matter what the situation. She’s my “baby” after all, but she has to do things on her own, learn independence and spread her wings. When I step in too much, I find that this causes a great deal of frustration for both of us. I want to do things “my way” and she knows she can do things on her own. It’s a situation that can’t be won, and there will be a time that I will be lucky that she even remembers the things I have taught her. There will be a time not too far away where not only has she become her own independent person, but she will have spread her wings and flown away as an adult. I will always want to be there for my daughter, to catch her, to hold her, to protect her and I always will, but if I impose my own ideas too much without allowing her to form her own opinions I would be doing her more of a disservice than a good. She won’t be able to live, and learn from her mistakes and even enjoy some of them if I am there every step of the way. In fact some of my finest childhood memories would be considered “mistakes”.
It’s tough navigating through this stuff sometimes, watching your child grow older and more independent. I’ve heard a lot of people say “there is no manual on being a parent”, but sometimes I wish there was.
Have you had to deal with loosening your reigns and letting your child be themselves? It’s tough, but necessary. That doesn’t make it any easier though, does it?