This shift begins the first time with children going off to nursery. The first thought for most parents is “Yahoo!” I get some “me” time. However, when the time approaches to take the child in, say good-bye and actually leave the child you can face turmoil and questions. This is normal and is known as parental anxiety.
Anxiety is mental uneasiness or distress arising from the fear of what may happen. It results from the ‘what ifs’ that go on in the mind. What if they miss me, what if the teacher doesn’t understand, what if they have no friends, what if they don’t miss me… the list can be all consuming. The problem is, when we feel anxious, the children will also feel anxious.
What we need to do is prepare not only our children but also ourselves. Change is inevitable and changes will transpire as the children grow up. As a child goes into school prepare them and speak positively to them. Tell them they are going to have fun with the other children and that you will be back to pick them up by a certain time. Tell them how proud you are of them and that they are very clever. Build them up and prepare them for the change.
As they grow up and go away from home on their first camp-out with the school or youth group prepare them. But you need also to be prepared. The dynamics at home change and your thoughts will go to where ever they are. Your challenge will be not to worry. If I found myself thinking about one of our children where ever in the world they were, I would begin to be grateful for them and thank God for them. The best solution to deal with any anxiety is a cup of tea, a hot bath and a prayer!
Change will come to your family. Everyone has to grow up. It is what you want. Letting go doesn’t mean you don’t love your child or deeply care. It just means that because you do you can let go of the controls and trust that you have done a good job.