A good and trusted friend sent me a video the other day that made her think of me. I am sharing it with you, because it so accurately and poignantly shares the dilemma that all parents face when it comes to “pushing” their kids out of the nest. Enjoy!
What was so interesting to me as I watched the video is that the eagle has no real option other than to kick the kids out of the nest and over the cliff. Her choice is easy – let them die in the safety of her nest or trust everything within her that kicking her beloved children out of safety, is in fact, the only thing a truly loving mother would do.
I so wish, and I suspect other parents wish, that kicking our own kids out of the proverbial nest was as clean cut for us as it is for the eagles. But alas, it is not.
Instead, we mortal parents are faced with obstacles that include questions like:
- Are they too young?
- Will it damage them for life?
- Wouldn’t it be easier when they get a bit older?
- What will people think after the screaming starts and before the miracle arrives?
- Do other parents struggle with this same question?
- How many times do we have to kick them out, push them over, or drop them from above?
- Does it get any easier?
I’m sure there are a dozen more questions I haven’t asked, but these are the questions I hear the most.
Summer is here, and it occurred to me, that this might be a great time for parents to practice kicking the kids out of the nest in small ways, in order to prepare for the harder kicks that will inevitably come. But kicking a kid out, at any age, requires a bit of preparation. So I will take a minute and answer these “most asked questions”.
They are never too young. In fact, the younger you start, the better time of it everyone will have. The longer you wait ….well, that typically doesn’t go well for anyone involved.
No, it will not damage them for life unless you are kicking a 3 year old onto the streets to fend for themselves. Most kids face more emotional damage from a “lack” of opportunities to spread their wings. If you have any question about whether you are being reasonable, ask a trusted friend. Do not, under any circumstances, believe a child who has no experience in the matter. They will of course, try to convince you it is an idiotic idea and you might just believe them.
No, it does not get easier as they get older. The stakes get higher, kids have less confidence in their ability and YOU have less confidence in yourself AND your kids. It’s a recipe for disaster. So start young. Kids are resilient. They bounce back from anything and everything. Yes, I have experience in this area as two of my children lost their mother to cancer at very young ages and they have bounced back.
People will have lots to say about what you are doing. Ignore them. They don’t know crap. If they did, they would be holding your hand, telling you to breathe and creating a network of trusted women who would be there for THEM when it came time for them to kick their kids out. Forget the outside world. Any mom worth her weight, knows that kicking kids out is a responsibility and also recognizes that it’s tough enough without a bunch of judgmental feather weights watching and editorializing.
Yes. Every single parent I have ever talked to asks this same question. We all have to do it. And instead of banding together in solidarity, we criticize each other. Listen, every child is different, every parent is different, every situation is unique. When we create “healthy tribes” (thanks again Kathy) we recognize that we are all in this together. We come to understand that kicking kids out of the next repeatedly, makes for resilient, confident, courageous, thinking, brave kids who will in short order, become tomorrow’s leaders.
Push as many times as it takes.Some kids learn on the first fall. Other kids experience difficulty many times before the master the sensation of riding the wind. It doesn’t matter. We do what we have to do for our kids. So let’s all be good to ourselves and the kids and NOT compare. It leaves everyone feeling discouraged.
Yes. Yes it does get easier. I know this because I not only have personal experience, but I have the experience of a thousand other parents who agree with me. Yes, of course it gets easier. Do you know why? Because we believe. Because we have faith. Because we know. Because we have experience that says, YES THEY CAN!
I have said for years, that if we do not have faith in our kids before they have faith in themselves, they will never develop it. Well, it starts here. Finding the courage to kick that cutie out of the nest, while the nest is low to the ground, and creating a lifetime of experiences so that when finally, that big day comes, and her solo journey begins, it begins on the wings of glory, not crouched behind an ever protective parent.
So here is to pushing! Contact me if you need a little support. I’m here.
Check out our Home Program to learn more about how we at Parenting On Track™ encourage parents to have faith in their children and faith in themselves and to find the courage to push a little bit every day!