Obviously, our nation is celebrating its independence this weekend…thus, the title of our post. Our nation’s struggle for independence is valuable as a metaphor for the struggle a child goes through for his/her independence. Okay, there’s not a war – but sometimes we parents and teachers feel like we’ve been through one!
Your child’s first struggles for freedom come with turning the head and turning over when you lay him down as an infant. I want to look around! By toddler, the struggle is one of pushing boundaries, and this continues until third grade, when, in a very Martin Lutheresque fashion, your child stands up to you regarding what she wears and how her hair is cut. This gentle rebellion against all you want to do regarding his personal life continues through 6th grade… and then the freedoms range beyond the shores of home. Once your teen sees what’s out there, Mom, it will never be the same! Middle school is full of comparison. Your teen is looking for what others have and he has not, and she is beginning to think her life would be so much better if you would just (fill in the blank).
By high school, she is fully armed with her beliefs and ready to make a stand on her own. He begins seeking schooling far from home, and your struggle of trying to be supportive but remembering that this is your baby heightens.
It is not until about his sophomore year, though, that he truly revolts and establishes his independence. She realizes she doesn’t really have to inform you of any of her decisions… just keep her grades up so she doesn’t get kicked out of the school. You call, and everything’s fine, but the only hint of the rebellion against all you’ve carefully poured into their little heads is the occasional un-huh on the other end of the line when your advice is offered.
Upon graduation, the relationship changes. You are now The British, not really the enemy, but definitely not the monarch you once were! Don’t despair, though. You’ll hear and see your words of wisdom, literally, when they come out of your now grown child’s mouth with his/her offspring!
Happy Fourth, everyone! A heartfelt thanks to all who have sacrificed to give us our freedom!