A Mom's Biggest Struggle: Letting Go When Your Kid Grows Up


Parenting: How To Let Go When Your Kid Grows Up
"I wasn't ready to let my oldest go so easily."
I knew I would have to let my little boy grow up — I just didn't expect it so soon.

As I gathered the pieces of my broken heart (and trust me they were everywhere), I thought to myself that there was something comforting (even if it's at great personal distress to me) that my child wanted to set those boundaries. He wanted to let me know that he was ready to create an identity of his own (that still definitely included me just not as his focal point, which used to be the case up until now).

It's a harrowing dichotomy when I think of it: I wanted to be his number one person, but I also wanted him to spread his wings and fly. This brings me to the messy business of what we parents have to do as we launch our little ones. We have to not only let them go, but be let go by them. We have to let them be their own people, let them experience the world in the way they have to, in the way that they need to. These types of transitions happen early on in life, that first time you leave your child to go to a meeting, a date, their first day at school. I thought I was OK with all that because I was the one doing all the leaving. I was the one letting go. Being on the "let go" side is a whole different predicament because it's when your child is calling the shots, when they are letting you know that they are choosing to walk away, choosing to assert those boundaries. I am on the receiving end now and it stinks.

More from YourTango: Gandhi vs. ET

For me, it has been one of those years of transition as I have launched my second and last child off to kindergarten. She used to be a permanent fixture by my side up until quite recently. At times, I would find myself exasperated because I wanted that space, I wanted so desperately to interact with the other adults at social gatherings, instead of having my little one glued to me. But over some time and now particularly in kindergarten, a shift has occurred where she wants to be her own person, where she walks into a social gathering and claims her space. I am no longer the one claiming that space for her, she is doing it herself and — much to my awe-stricken self — quite amazingly. I am no longer the one who is being chased. I am doing the chasing and I am beginning to miss my permanent fixture self who turns out, wasn't so permanent after all.

More from YourTango: Are We Raising Bystanders?

Letting go — it's easy when you are the one doing it; it's harder when it's done to you. Cognitively, I am aware of this, but emotionally, I want to have each of them plopped on either lap holding them tight.

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Manisha Dayal


Manisha Dayal, Psy.D.

1300 W. Belmont #407

Chicago IL 60657

Location: Chicago, IL
Credentials: PsyD
Specialties: Couples/Marital Issues, Multicultural Concerns, Post Traumatic Stress / Trauma
Other Articles/News by Dr. Manisha Dayal:

What's Up with Sexualized Clothing for Girls?


When my daughter was in first grade, I was at a department store buying some pants for my then 6-year-old daughter. As I was looking around, I was astounded at the amount of inappropriate clothing that exists for young girls. There was clothing that was outrageously shiny, clubbing wear, t-shirts with inappropriate words on them, the list continues. Why, I ... Read more

"You Look Like Sharon Stone"


When I was in graduate school one of my fellow students told me at a social gathering that I looked like Sharon Stone. SHARON STONE???!!! Now don’t get me wrong. I think Sharon Stone is gorgeous, talented, and has a body to die for. Why shouldn’t this be the best compliment I have ever received? Well, the truth of the matter is that I look nothing ... Read more

Gandhi vs. ET


With all of the recent incidents of bullying, I am recollecting some of my own experiences of it. It evokes a myriad of feelings and it is for this very reason, that it has taken me weeks to write this particular piece. For me, my belief is that sharing can be an important part of the human experience, it helps us feel connected to one another. For years I had ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts

Cheating Behavior: Does Where You Live Matter?

Is there a correlation between cheating, where you live and money?

Dating: So You're In Debt, When Should You Tell Them?

Debt And Dating: When Should You Reveal Financial Troubles?

Own up to money challenges at the appropriate time openly and honestly.

Common Stages Of Divorce

9 Tips For Navigating The Common Stages Of Divorce

Are you facing divorce? Design your own strategy for navigating the common stages of divorce.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>