“There are two gifts we should give our children: one is roots, the other is wings.”
Giving roots and wings is the best legacy I could ever give my children. I reflect back on my 28 years of motherhood and ask myself: Have I given them that legacy?
Giving my children ‘roots’ meant unconditional love, nurturing a healthy mind and body, giving the security and warmth of a loving home, and being there for them. Giving ‘wings’ is giving them the confidence to be their own special unique individual, and believing they can reach their dreams and aspirations with hard work and determination. Oh well, along the way, I fumbled.
It was really hard to balance between stepping in to help, and letting go to allow learning from experiences of winning and losing. I remember my child’s first step, and my protective instinct as I hovered nearby in case she’d fall. I recall being livid with rage when my 15 year old daughter had a boyfriend. I remember the first time my daughter drove a car, and and how hard I prayed for her safety. I remember the time I cried when my daughter left for Australia to work. Each time, I thought "this is really, really challenging. I care a lot about their safety. I don't want to let go. I can’t bear watching them make mistakes. "
I asked my daughter if I was a helicopter parent who hovered nearby because I knew at some point I was a protective and strict parent. She said “no, mom”. I learned to let go when the girls were in college but I never hovered like a helicopter when it came to their academics. In fact, I never fussed about their grades except when they needed help on a topic. Part of growing up is learning to stand on their own. The girls knew we were always there to help if needed. What my children needed from me, and how my parenting style changed during the last 28 years was a result of the metamorphosis of my children from infancy to adulthood.
My advice is letting go slowly. Starting at 8 years old, determine if your child can wean off from your tutorial time, decide extra curricular activities and allow them to make choices with your guidance. Remember, a certain amount of hovering is understandable when it comes to young kids, but when it persists through high school and college, I think it is so unhealthy for both sides.
The perfect balance of caring and letting go are guided upon by own set of rules : Love , Limit and Let them be. For my children to understand appropriate behavior, I let them know how much I love them. It is about setting boundaries, being consistent and knowing that I can’t be with them 24/7. There is a time to let go. What we hope most for our children is that they soar confidently in their own sky, whatever that may be.