For our firstborn, it was an overnight birthday party with the popular girls. For our second child, it was a sleepover with his teammates. For child #3, it was church camp. For our youngest, it was camping with his classroom buddy.
In each of these situations, my husband and I released the reins of control at appropriate ages, saying yes to these overnights even when we didn’t feel completely comfortable. Our children were old enough we couldn’t supervise them every waking moment. Each of these events was a leap of faith for this mama. That leap of faith continues every time I say yes when I’d rather keep my kids under my wings as parent fledging kids. To fledge is to put feathers on an arrow or for a bird to develop strong wing feathers for flight. It’s not a mother’s natural instinct to let go. But Psalm 127 says, “Like arrows in the hands of warriors are children born of one’s youth.”
As your kids get older, the “what ifs” get louder. What if he takes drugs? What if she is assaulted? What if he gets hurt? What if they make the wrong decision or do something stupid?
What if I’m not there when they need me?
These questions linger even with adult children. They roll around in your mind, driving worry, insecurity, and the need to control.
Giving up control isn’t easy for parents, but it’s something we need to do for child to be healthy adults.
Here are 3 truths about giving up control.
- Giving up control is humbling. Doing so acknowledges we’re not in charge. It acknowledges that our children are not an extension of ourselves. Humility at its finest.
- Giving up control allows your kids to fly. Kids can’t grow when you’re holding the reigns. Their wing feathers can’t be strong when you subvert their independence and autonomy, preventing them to be the person God’s designed them to be.
- Giving up control strengthens your relationship with your child. Do you remember when you were a teen or young adult? Did you want your parents involved in all your decisions or telling you what to do with your future? Your children don’t want you dominating their lives. God designed your children to be independent from you. Letting go builds a better life relationship between both of you.
Many of you will see your kids graduate middle school, high school, college or marry this summer. Join me by letting go and letting God lead your kids into the future God has for them.
To find out more about everything related to letting go and the fledging stage of parenting, get my new book Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind.
Also, join the Fledge Parent Facebook forum for moms here.