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Maturing As a Parent

I have three children, ages 19 and 16 (yes, the 16 year-olds are twins!) My older son just mailed his college deposit and will leave for school sometime in August. Thinking back over the past few years, I've just realized my children have been spreading their wings to fly away for sometime now.

Your life begins to change as your child enters high school, whether you like it or not. Boy, did I not like the changes. Many of your family's practices change, just because your children won't always be around for them. Accepting these changes as gracefully as possible is part of your maturation as a parent.

Family dinners were our first casualty. I grew up in a family that dined together every day, especially at dinner. We continued that practice when our children were younger. But sports practices, play rehearsals, invitations to friends' houses began to leave kids' places vacant at the dinner table. Or you'll get exactly the opposite ? everyone's girlfriend or boyfriend comes over unexpectedly for dinner. I've learned to plan plenty for dinner, and then enjoy leftovers for lunch the next day if everyone isn't here.

Family vacations were our second casualty. Summer school, sports camps, pre-season workouts or band camps filled up our summer schedule and kept us from vacationing as a family. We've split into smaller groups to vacation; each parent gets his own set of children to attend a family reunion or Scout camp. While this feels like a loss, it's hard to imagine a place where your child wouldn't be mortified to be seen with you! Maybe this is for the best anyway!

Parent peace of mind was our third casualty. When your child gets a driver's license, your peace of mind vanishes instantaneously until he or she proves to be responsible behind the wheel. Not only does your automobile insurance skyrocket, but your anxiety does too. My older son let us off easy; he didn't get his driver's license until he was seventeen. (Statistically, older teens are less likely to die in fatal car crashes than younger ones). My 16-year old daughter gives me fits. She says all the right things. ("Dad, I'll not take more than one other friend in the car" ? our state restricts the number of passengers younger teens can carry to limit distractions ? but caves in to peer pressure.) We take away her driving privileges when she does something dangerous, which is a pain to have to drive her around again. I told her I'd rather she hate me for the rest of her life than I have to bury her! Continue parenting to keep them safe, but not so tightly that they don't learn responsibility and earn your trust.

Your heart expands as your child matures. You have to pull back, let him or her try things and learn from successes and failures. You can't teach them vicariously; they have to learn it for themselves. Holding onto them too tightly causes them to push you away even harder, so why fight it. Let your relationship begin to blossom, and look at them as about to be minted adults and let your relationship begin to change.

Copyright 2005, Fruition Coaching. All rights reserved.

Rick Hanes is a life and career coach, writer, outdoorsman, gardener and tireless advocate for living life with purpose and passion. He founded Fruition Coaching in 2004 to lead the fight against leading lives of quiet desperation. Check his website at http://www.fruitioncoaching.com to contact him about rekindling the fire of your life!

In The News:

The Stellar Daisy, a massive South Korean tanker that sank in March 2017, was found on the floor of the South Atlantic Ocean nearly two years later, the CEO of an ocean exploration company revealed Sunday.
A strange spider with glowing eyes that lived more than 100 million years ago was recently discovered by paleontologists working in South Korea. 
The intense polar vortex that blanketed the Midwest and made its way to the East Coast with deadly subzero wild chills and snow may have had one benefit: killing off some bad bugs.
Colorado construction workers have made a surprising discovery, unearthing human bones of a Native American man that could date back a millennium.
Skygazers will be treated to the “super snow moon,” on Feb. 19, the largest supermoon of 2019.
In November 2016, astronomers watched a young star some 1,500 light-years away from Earth belch out an explosion of plasma and radiation that was roughly 10 billion times more powerful than any flare ever seen leaving Earth's sun. This sudden stellar eruption may be the most luminous known flare ever released by a young star — and it could help scientists better understand the still-murky process of star formation.
An audacious attempt to find explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton’s ship Endurance has been called off after the expedition team lost an undersea drone beneath Antarctic ice.
“Our wish is to fly this year,” NASA official Thomas Zurbuchen said at the surprise announcement of a new Moon mission overnight. “We want to incentive speed … We want to start taking shots on goal.”
Bones recently found in a Siberian cave have given researchers a new glimpse into the timeline of an extinct human species. The species – known as Denisovans – at one time lived alongside Neanderthals in the same cave, the evidence showed.
NASA's Opportunity Rover has died on Mars.

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