Leaving Room to Grow

Recently I have noticed that my son has been spending more time by himself. At 8 years old, he is developing a greater sense of his independence, and a greater sense of connection with his friends at school. My son loves to listen to books on CD in his room, he calls it “me time”. I have noticed that it is not always easy for me to accept this as okay.
Sometimes it is hard to leave space within a relationship for growth. What may be a natural distance can feel uncomfortable or goes against expectations about what a relationship should look like.
This is true in friendships, marriages, business partnerships, and parenting. All rela-tionships have a natural ebb and flow. There are times when we work together most of the day and other times when days go by and there is very little interaction. Giving this space is important for the health of a parent-child relationship.
While parenting is unique in many ways, it is no different when it comes to leaving space. There are times when a child wants to be alone in his room, or only wants to hang out with friends. Parenting can be uniquely challenging because our children start out completely dependent upon us. Then, gradually at first, they find their own way in the world.
Trust is so important in times when there is more distance between a parent and a child. Trusting that the kid is okay, that there is nothing wrong. Trusting that we are okay, that we have not done something to chase our child away, or cause her to no longer trust us. There are many fears that can come forward.
When fear arises, I recommend taking a moment to breathe. Appreciate what is present before rushing off to fix it. Appreciate the natural distance that arises in rela-tionships and recognize that the time for closeness will naturally return.
All of this can be challenging in the midst of everyday life, when just being can feel overwhelming. I have found that relationships with children are built to last. When we trust the natural rhythms of intimacy things can happen more gracefully.
So put your feet up if your child has opted to spend a little extra time in his room. Read that book you have been neglecting, or watch that silly video that has been sitting in your inbox. Your child will be back soon enough.
 

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