It’s hard to watch your child grow up, seeing her choose a grown-up dress for her first party, or browse men’s watches with him because he’s outgrown his first watch. But it’s also important to accept that your children will become adults, and give them a helping hand along the way.
There’s no rule book for being a parent; the only real experience we have is our own childhood and to use that experience to help your child make the same journey you did. We need to let them be themselves.
Help them with their choices
A huge part of developing an identity involves clothing choices. A child’s sense of style and taste is an intrinsic part of them, and always has been: since she threw her first tantrum because she didn’t want to wear that dress, her tastes have been shaping the type of person she is.
So it’s important to respect your child’s clothing tastes, even if what they’d like to wear is different to your own personal taste. It’s fine to steer them in a particular direction or occasionally put your foot down, but allow them to make their own choices as much as you can.
Let them make mistakes
It’s hard to watch your kid stumble, and even harder not to help them get back onto their feet again. But at a certain point, they must learn to solve problemsand make their own mistakes so they can learn from the consequences of their choices. Of course you’ll always be there to help them if you’re needed, but it’s important to step back sometimes and trust that they can pick themselves up and carry on.
Give them responsibilities
Your child needs to learn that they can take care of important things, and that you trust them to do this. It might be tricky for you, but give them more responsibilities and chores: let them feed the dog for a week, or give them responsibility for caring for the house plants. If you show that you have faith in your child, he or she will step up to meet the challenge.
You’ll be surprised at how easy it can be to allow your children to grow up, and even give them a helping hand along the way. It’s hard for you to let go and step back, but it’s also important to relinquish some control gradually, until they’re doing it all by themselves.
So let your children choose their own clothes, make their own mistakes, fix their own problems and take care of their own responsibilities. Take it slow at first, and know that it might be difficult but you’re helping your child feel more grown up and responsible with every passing day.