So, my youngest daughter is studying abroad in Australia. What a great experience, right? For spring break, she asked if we would mind if she went on an adventure trip with some of her friends. “Sure!” I said….”just no scuba diving, bungee-jumping, or skydiving.” (Did I mention this was an ADVENTURE tour?). She agreed. Kind of. I think what she said was, “Oh, Mom. You don’t need to worry about me!” About two weeks later she sends me this photo. If you look carefully, her hands read, “SORRY MOM”. (You can click on the photo to enlarge it.)
Yup. As parents we want the best for our children. We want them to be healthy, productive members of society, and happy in their relationships. We also want them ALIVE. Fortunately, Molly survived her jump….and plans to do more. (Are you KIDDING me??!!) As our children grow and become their own person, we learn very quickly that sometimes you gotta let ‘em go in order for them to figure out their place in this world. However, as parents we do our best to give them guidance and advice (“if I catch you drinking you are grounded!!!”) to help them become these amazing humans we know they are capable of becoming (after all, they are OUR kids…)
As our children grow, they become more and more aware of their sexuality. In fact, it becomes a huge part of their teen years, thanks to those crazy hormones. It is our responsibility as parents to be there for our kids when they have questions and to help them navigate through these crazy years. The more information we have access to, and the more open we are in talking with our kids, the easier these conversations will become. Some kids are more wiling to talk about this stuff with their parents/caregivers than other kids, and that’s okay. It’s not you. It’s them. Well, okay, maybe it’s you, too. But once you find a comfortable balance with these conversations, they become easier. Have the kid take the lead…you’ll get a pretty good idea where they’re coming from.
If you look closely at the photo again, you’ll see that Molly is jumping in tandem with an “expert” jumper. (Seriously?? Is he REALLY an expert? Where are his “expert” papers? I need PROOF!!) We parents, teachers, caregivers can be that “expert” that attaches ourselves to our precious children to help them make their “jump” into adulthood. Welllll….okay. Don’t attach to them. That just gets weird. But we CAN help push them out that airplane door with the information and tools they need to make a (relatively) soft (and sometimes bumpy) landing.