A Child Flying the Coop: How To Cope (and Not Clip Their Wings)

It is part of our family life that we need to prepare ourselves for. We need to support our children to become more independent, but we are also concerned about the big wide world for many reasons, such as the increasing cost of living, the economy, or the lack of jobs. So when it comes to ensuring that our children become their own person and move out, what are the things we need to do to help them, but also ease the transition along?

Take Stock of the Current Situation

As parents, we can find ourselves conflicted between encouraging our children to go, while also wanting them to stay to reduce our hurt. This can result in mixed messages, but we've got to ensure that we are in a place where we are willing to let our children go, but also assess the climate.

It could very well be that your child is trying to escape their home environment at all costs and are, therefore, of the opinion that they need to move as far away as humanly possible, perhaps even go to another country. And while our children could very well be conducting their own research on the best international moving services to help them, the fact is that it is a two-way street. It's about understanding if we have pushed them away or if they have come to the conclusion that they need to start spreading their wings.

Not Underestimating Their Potential

One of the biggest problems many helicopter parents have is the belief that the children, on some level, are not able to deal with everything the big wide world throws at them. We protect them so much that we smother them, and this is not just damaging to our children, but to our relationship with them.

It can take a long time for children to come around to the fact that we were doing our best to help them. The problem is that when we do our best to help them by completely clipping their wings, not letting them do things for themselves, and making their own mistakes, when our children leave, they will invariably make mistakes and we will have many sleepless nights.

We need to understand that our children will have the potential to make it in the world, but we also need to ensure that they are able to make mistakes that they can learn from. It can be a massive shock to the system. Stifling our children's growth at home and then suddenly wanting to leave means that they are going to be ill-equipped to deal with the world. This is why it's so important to give them the opportunities to get out of their comfort zone in a home environment.

As they grow up, we have to consciously put them in situations that can feel intimidating or potentially scary. It's not about chucking them into the deep end and wondering if they'll sink or swim. In fact, it's about ensuring that they slowly step out of their comfort zone in an environment that we can supervise effectively.

For many parents, it can begin when our children are old enough to start crawling. We can gauge the risk in an environment like a living room; the problem we have is that when our children go out into the world, the risks are numerous and varied. But unfortunately, by this point, it's too late for us to embed any major changes and they have to do it by themselves, therefore, we've got to trust that what we've done up to this point is enough for them to use.

Change Your Perspective

We can be terrified about what will happen to our children when they fly the coop, and this is because we still view them as children. When our children are leaving to go to college or they want to find a place of their own, they are adults. They are fully capable of doing things for themselves and we have to change our point of view.

Your child is not a child anymore, and therefore they are the same as you. When you were a child, you knew your own mind and you knew you were capable or not capable of doing certain things. When we think our children are incapable of doing certain things, this is sending a very clear message to our children that we don't trust them.

When we don't trust them, we start to parent in such a way that we are invariably damaging the relationship between us and them. We need to change our perspective, and the best way to do it is to encourage them to be more responsible. If they move out suddenly, we've got to make sure that we don't step in and protect them when something seems difficult to them. It could be about paying a bill, especially when they don't have any experience in paying bills.

We can lay the foundations early in life by teaching them about the things that go on in the real world, which really should be done in school. But the reality is that once we give them all the tools that we know, they can build upon these and potentially deal with the real world far better than we did. We've got to see our children as capable people.

Taking Our Emotions Out of the Equation

Of the many skills all parents need to deal with children, the reality is that we should not let our emotions completely override our common sense. The best thing we can do in this environment is to remember that we had to deal with the big wide world at some point.

It may have been a shock to the system or we may have been schooled appropriately, but if we are still tugging at our heartstrings and experiencing empty nest syndrome, it's because we are longing to protect our children.

One of the most difficult aspects of parenting is letting them be their own person. And in order for them to thrive, we've got to take our emotions out of the equation

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