Now that your adolescent is maturing, it is time to start peeling off the layers of armor that you began collecting from the moment you learned that you were pregnant.
I had just entered graduate school when I found out that I was pregnant with our first child. My life was crazy busy, and I didn’t have time to reflect on how becoming a mom was going to impact me. I didn’t make it to the hospital tour or many of the extra opportunities to get ready. But then the day my daughter was born, it was like something magical happened to me. I instantly transformed into a mom who just wanted to hold and adore her baby girl. I felt a tremendous need to shelter and protect her. That’s when it all began and many more layers of armor were added each year.
Shedding the Armor
By the time my daughter entered adolescence, I was set in my parenting methods and determination to protect her. It was a total surprise to me that she started questioning my direction for her life. My armor was strong and impenetrable. Over the next several years, layers of heavy metal began to fall off, and we learned how to walk together in a new way. The most important change that I needed to make was to learn to respect my daughter as an individual with her own dreams and desires. Only half of her genetics came from me. Although we are very alike in some ways, in many other ways we are different. That difference makes her unique.
My advice to you as you move through the adolescent years with your child, is to learn to respect them as an individual and not just as your child. This requires changing your mindset. It won’t happen in a few days or weeks. Adolescence lasts from preteens to young adulthood. There is lots of time to remove layers of armor and relax in your relationship with your young adult.
My last suggestion is to hold onto that remaining strong piece of armor that protects your heart. Even as your child marches off to find their way in the world, the two of you will remain attached to one another at the heart, and yours will still need protection.
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