What stops you from flying?

May 5th, 2019 in Blog

I grew up in a loving family with lots of opportunities and yet I don’t think I was flying as a child. I was definitely loved, I wasn’t bullied and I had lots of friends, family and stability. Surely the conditions were there? So what stopped me from flying? I believe it was a few tiny moments, moments that I must have logged as the truth and therefore started to live by.

But what does this mean in practice? Some of us go out of our way to provide for our children in order to make their world more comfortable than perhaps ours was.

We decide that protecting our children is our number one priority and we do this in the only way we know how, on our terms.

So what does protecting our children mean in practice?
  • We walk them to the school gate
  • We quiz them over their friendships and advise them on who to avoid
  • We stand up for them when a teacher or friend dares to criticise
  • We avoid discussion with them because we know best – we’ve been there and they are too young to know
  • We manage their play time to make us feel more comfortable – “you don’t need to walk to Freddy’s house I will give you a lift”
  • We say ‘no’ to risky sleepovers, or to cub scout trips that may not have the right supervision etc.
What else do you tend to do?

There is nothing wrong with any of the above – it’s based on our judgments and intuition as a mum, dad or guardian – I am just wondering if our internal guidance on how best to parent is based on assumptions that are no longer true? What would it be like if we decided to question these a little with the aim of really helping our children fly?

  1. Is it true that we need to protect them at all times, or is it true that we want to teach them how to protect themselves?
  1. Is it true that we should be in control of what happens to them, or is it true that we should guide them on how to make their own decisions and choices?
  1. Is it true that we know best, or is it more true that we want them to learn what is best for themselves?


If the latter statements were indeed true what would it mean in practice?
  1. Asking them what they think…
  1. Letting them try on their own more…
  1. Allowing them to get things wrong and choose the wrong paths knowing we will be there for them when this happens…
  1. Teaching them how to be more responsible for their own behaviour…
  1. Rediscovering perhaps what we understand our role to be?

I am currently reading Michelle OBama’s Autobiography (Becoming) and one sentence struck me, she referred to her parents as “raising adults” and it made me question… “is that what I’m doing?” Or am I bringing up my children in the invisible hope that they will always need me?

There is no rule book that tells you what your parenting should look like, just lots of rule books on what others think.

Remember those exciting times you had as a child when you were allowed new freedoms and could try out the world for size?  We want our children to fly like that, but all the time knowing that we will always be there to catch them should they need us. If you knew that your child was capable of flying how would you help them?

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