Fasten Your Seatbelts and Prepare for Departure

prepare-f-departureWhat’s the point of training our children to get themselves up in the morning, or unload the dishwasher, or organize their time? Is it because it will make our lives easier? Well no, that is an added benefit, but that’s not the real reason. The reason we train our children is to prepare them for departure.

One day our children will leave our houses; it doesn’t matter how much we make them the center of our universe—they will leave someday, and it is our job to make sure they are ready. By the time our kids turn 16 through 18, there is a lot of growth happening. They are learning to drive, opening bank accounts (if they haven’t already), applying for college or for jobs, dating, and possibly doing lots of other things like drinking, drugs…sends shivers up the spine just thinking about it.

Our children are getting ready for their lives because they know they are leaving, and they need all the support we can muster to help them jump into their lives and “out of the nest.” Last spring I heard a lot about parents of high school seniors who were having a hard time letting go. This was causing all sorts of havoc in the family and between the parents and children. Being the parent of a three- and five-year-old, I can’t say that I completely understand how those parents were feeling. But, I vividly remember the ache in my heart and stomach as I watched my “baby” walk down the hall for the first time to her kindergarten classroom, and I can only imagine what it will be like to watch her walk across the stage at 18 to receive her diploma.

So, what is a parent to do? How can we support our children as they ready themselves to depart, while we feel like falling apart? Here are a few things you can do:

  • Support them with any additional training they might need in real-world skills.
  • Loosen the boundaries around them a little without letting go; it will do wonders for your relationship.
  • Trust them.
  • Pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

Unfortunately, from the moment they arrive, our children are preparing to depart and live their own lives. So it is our job to give them a “map,” by training them in self and life skills, and then fasten our seatbelts, enjoy the ride, and know when to let go.

4 thoughts on “Fasten Your Seatbelts and Prepare for Departure

  1. S (7yo) made that cake last night by herself. This morning she decided that she wanted to take a few pieces in to give to teachers at school. It was so wonderful to watch her as she handed them out. She took so much pride in herself when she told them that she made them all by herself and wanted to share with them. There was also a look of surprise on the teachers face when she said she made it all by herself.

    I realized last night, while watching MomTV, that the reason why the girls were such a handful over the weekend is that they were rattling the playpen wanting to learn to do more. Yesterday was much better because I was letting them learn to do the things they wanted to learn to do, making their playpen bigger. Thanks for the perspective.

  2. I love the perspective that we are preparing our children to become caring, loving and capable adults.. from the moment they are born!
    Thanks for sharing this great information Vicki!

    Sandra Huber- The Soulful Parent

  3. We took a class last winter and since then I have watched my 7 year old blossom in the area of preparing for departure. I can’t even tell you how many times she’s sitting and waiting in the car before I can get myself together. Mornings are a million times better and this is a kid with some processing delays. So, training and then practice with love and patience coming from the big people in your life…nothing better. And, I’m a totally impatient and gnarly mother, to boot. It can be done!

  4. Morning,

    Ahhhhhhh! What a great post to read first thing in the morning. This is what parenting is all about. When our kids behave better than we do. Just love it.

    Thank you for sharing. This will inspire other parents who wonder if it is possible to have this kind of feeling, this kind of confidence, this kind of morning with their kids.

    Be Well,

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