As close as the three of us are, Zed is spending more time on his own. He wants more peer time and less family time.
As my friend Ben said, my son is “growing away.” The main focus of “growing away” is giving the child permission to make their own decisions – and allowing the child to deal with the consequences of those decisions.
Many parents talk about the difficulties of this separation even though they said they knew it was coming. Maybe it’s because at this time, our parental role really changes.
It’s like riding a canoe. When your child is young, they are under your leadership and control. You are in the same canoe together. As the child gets older, they step into their own canoe. You can tell how much they want to be close to you by how far away they paddle and how close they come back. You are there as guidance. As a resource. If the child takes the canoe and heads toward the dam, you can hopefully reach them in time to help them away from the falls. But otherwise, the parent looks towards the child’s initiative for when they need guidance. The parents are there to help extract the learning from any consequences the child incurs. And to help celebrate their blossoming independence.
In the post “Another Kind of Distance,” there are ideas on how to let the child know you’re available for that guidance.
How are you maneuvering these waters as your child “grows away” from you and paddles their own canoe?