Saturday, October 15, 2011

Releasing Responsibility

I want to share a quote I found recently.  This quote sums up how I pretty much feel about my parenting style.

"Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon them and to let them know that you trust them."  ~ Booker T. Washington

A few years ago you would have found me full of anxiety over my parenting skills. 

Back then I used to hang onto every little thing.  I had control over everything and I didn't give responsibility to anyone in my household.  No one could do laundry or dishes quite like I could.  I used to parent based on what others thought was best for my kids, not what I thought was best for them and I was always afraid of what someone might say if my kids weren't dressed just right!

No wonder I was in full panic mode most of the time!

This quote reminds me of our recent trip to the cottage.  Our older two sons (17 & 14) are both working and of course in school.  They weren't too keen on taking a trip and missing out on work opportunities (our oldest son has just started his first job and so didn't want to take time off) and so we opted to leave them behind. 

We opted to give them responsibility and trust them for the nine days that we would be away.

I was more emotional about not having them with me than I was about leaving them to their own devices for nine days.

They did great.  They got along well, they didn't starve and the house didn't burn down.  Their time without parental supervision was a success.  Who'd have thunk it?

What I would have missed as a parent had we not given them that opportunity, was to see just how responsible and capable they are.  Handing over responsibility to your child shows you just how well you have parented them up until this point.  It's like a parenting report card. 

If you are one of those parents who doesn't allow your child to do anything without your supervision, you are missing out big time!  Not only do you not know how well your child will cope in a situation where you are not with them to make their decisions for them, but you are missing an opportunity to show your child just how much you trust their judgement.  You are missing an opportunity to empower your child!

Ahem.  This goes for all you parents of adult children as well.

Granted you are not going to leave your eight year old home alone for nine days.  But there are things you can do for your younger children that will empower them.  It was always helpful in our house to let the boys dress themselves the way they like, pack their lunches the way they like and (as much as it pained my control freak ways) to let them do their chores the way they would like. 

Trust me, letting go a little bit now when your kids are younger makes it WAY easier to get into the passenger seat with them when they are working on getting their drivers license! 

So, do your kids a favour, heck do everyone in your life a favour; give over responsibility to those you have been withholding it from and then trust that all is well.  

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