On Mothering – Part 4

, , No Comments
2.     How old should a child be when a mother begins to loosen her bonds with that   child?

Each child and mother is an individual, and therefore, the answer to this question does not involve naming an age to start loosening bonds. I will say that this loosening of bonds is an on-going process over many years and has many different forms depending on the developmental level of the child.

Even as children are very young, they may start to say things like, “I can do that.” “Let me do that.” We want to notice this and honor it if reasonable. This is an early form of the child establishing their autonomy.

As our children ask to pick out their own clothes, decorate their own room, and make their own friends, each of these behaviors is about the child trying to healthily separate their identity from their mother. They mean no harm by this. This is a natural process of growing up and out.

As we parent our teenage children, the loosening of bonds becomes even more complex. The developmental task of a teen is to develop identity and autonomy. As they do this, we want to both keep them safe by enforcing rules and guidelines and give them freedom to make their own decisions and experience the natural consequences of those decisions.

And as we continue our relationships with our adult children, we want to remember that they are adults, not children, and we want to honor the independence and autonomy that is theirs and continue to speak and act in ways that leaves them responsible for themselves and us responsible for our self.


Post a Comment