After the family day long weekend do you need a break from family?! LOL!
I’ve wanted to run away, or at least hide, on many occasions over the past 20 years! Wanting a break is totally normal & actually healthy!
As much as we are aware that we need some space as adults, it’s easy to feel threatened when our kids pull away from us, wanting to be by themselves, or not sharing what they once did with us. This is not personal, it is a necessary developmental dance.
Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to be with our kids all the time to have a “close” relationship with them. There is an illusion that our kids are somehow “safe” when we know where they are & what they’re doing at all time, but kids, like us, need to have some things that are just for them. They need time to process things or sometimes just want their own space, which makes us nervous & can cause many moms a lot of anxiety!
Worry not my friends! It is essential that every human being experiences both attachment & autonomy, closeness & separation, for healthy brain development, self-regulation & resilience as we grow into functioning adults.
We know that a child needs to be attached to a loving caregiver to feel safe & survive in the world, but for some reason autonomy is not as easy for us to willingly offer our kids.
Being “connected" to our children through technology, is no replacement for the feeling of authentic connection. Authenticity doesn’t come from knowing their whereabouts, monitoring their conversations, online behaviour or imposing curfews.
This form of “connection" can feel intrusive, overbearing, anxiety producing, & can make a child outright angry! It doesn’t allow anyone to feel trusted or capable, imagine if your spouse tried these tactics on you?! … And I won’t buy the “But I’m an adult” argument.
As well-intended as we may be, we are robbing our kids of the good feelings that come from proving they are capable, trustworthy, competent & self confident.
Feeling connected comes from being attuned. Attunement is a skill that we can develop over time. The majority of it is nonverbal. It consists of meeting a child’s physical & emotional needs, of course, but mostly it is a feeling, it’s body language & the conveyance that “I see who you really are”.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this kind of attunement in your life, so it won’t be a surprise to learn that our children FEEL connection, they don’t actually need to BE connected physically to us.
It is said that “Parents give their kids two things; one is roots, the other is wings.” Being attuned is the roots & autonomy is their wings.
As hard as it can be on moms, to not feel needed, it is essential for our child’s development. Wen to be close & when to separate is a dance that we must learn & it us who needs to move to the rhythm of our child’s emotions.
So, how do we help our children become more autonomous, while being an attuned Mom?
Lindsay Lal Professional Coaching