Even at the best of times, parenting is a balancing act. You must be strict. You must let them go once in a while. You must protect, but not be overbearing. In this piece, we tell you why it is important to let your college-going child live his or her own life.
Yes, I know how hard parenting is. For the first five years, our children are heavily dependent on us. Then the physical dependency goes away, but the emotional dependency remains until they’re perhaps teenagers. Once puberty hits, a strange distance occurs between kids and their parents. They spend more time with their peer groups, or even alone in their rooms.
It is when kids leave for college that the physical separation happens for the first time, and for most parents it’s hard to deal with. This is when your child will become his or her own person, and they have to find their own path their own way. No longer will you be there to show them the way every moment of their lives. And this is a good thing.
Here are a few reasons why parents need to take a step back once their kids leave for college:
1. Remember when…
Recall the time when you were in college, and how embarrassing you thought your parents were when they fussed over you and gave you unsolicited advice. Did your mother think that you need to eat well? Did your father think that you weren’t trustworthy enough to know anything important? Well, how would you feel if you did the same things to your kids? Of course they don’t know the world yet, but don’t let them know what you really think of them.
2. Let them make their mistakes
It is natural parents to feel protective of their children, but if you prevent them from making their own mistakes and learning their own lessons in life, you will be hurting them more in the long run than helping them. You will raise children who are incapable of making independent decisions, and of making informed choices in life.
3. They need your support, not your interference
There is a difference between letting your child know that you’re always available for a chat, and poking your nose into everything your child does. This interference has become easier these days because of social media, but resist the temptation! Allow your child to come to you for advice and conversation, and when they do, try to be as non-judgemental as you can.