Cutting the Cord


Since the last post I have been thinking a lot about how to cut the cord, cut the strings, fly the kite, let the kite soar, all those sort of descriptions for letting your kids fly on their own.

I have 3 adult children. It does not mean that I am done parenting. When you have adult children you are on an" as need basis" versus parenting younger children where you have daily contact and responsibility. I have talked in some of my earlier posts about parents and style of parenting. I have commented on squeezing too hard and knowing how and when to let go. Well, I have decided that those decisions never end!

When you kids are little the decision of how to and when to step out and let your children navigate on their own is based primarily on safety and judgement issues. Little kids need specific instruction, monitoring and help making the right choices for themselves. Our job I think then is to let the line out a little at a time as kids demonstrate their ability to make good and healthy choices and move forward well. As our kids grow each age requires us to let the line out more and more until inevitably the line is let all the way out. The decision parents have to make then, is to see how well each child is doing handling all that freedom. Some kids can handle a lot at an earlier age and seem to be able to fly pretty well, and some kids need you to keep reeling them back in until they get it right! The tricky part for all of us parents is to be able to gauge how each of our children are doing and help them through life's process. Parenting is like a good barometer, you check for progress and if you see an impending storm you plan for it and make the necessary corrections or supplies available!

I thought that after parenting teenagers my job would get easier. For the most part that is true, but the catch here is that I have truly discovered that a parents job is never, ever done. Being a good parent is a life long process, and some of the tricky parts are always there. The trickiest part is knowing how and when to cut the cord, cut the string, snip away at the string etc. etc. Letting go and letting our kids fly on their own.

Most of my friends are of course close in age to myself and so have kids that are grown or almost fully "cooked" as I like to say. A number of us now have kids who are graduating from college and beginning to look for jobs and some of us have kids who are looking for new jobs or different jobs or just plain any old job, along with deciding where to live and who to date and if they we want to get married and all sorts of similar grown up choices! Thinking about all of this makes me know that parenting just takes on a different look as our kids grow. My friends and I are no less interested in our children now than we were when they were little. Actually, sometime we are even more interested because the decisions that our kids have to make are that much bigger and more important. The difference is our job now is to be on the sideline, not the front line.

Each and every day of a parents life has time spent thinking about our kids. I guess that with each age comes wisdom. The wisdom to know how and what our kids need from us to be able to be and continue to be their most competent and complete selves. I am now learning that cutting the cord has just one literal meaning. The actual even that takes place after birth when the real umbilical cord is cut between mother and child. After that, cutting the cord is all symbolic and I am not sure that actually ever completely happens!

So, Good Parents...keep loving your kids well. I am 53 years old and still working on it!

Until next time,