When your child stops hanging onto your every word

There is a moment in every child’s life when they realise that they don’t have to hang onto your every word. For years they poodle along by your side or behind you asking numerous questions and accepting your answer as if you were the font of all knowledge. Once they start school their minds, eyes and ears are opened to a whole other world. You aren’t the font of all knowledge anymore.

I remember the moment when my daughter questioned my theory about rain. ‘It’s the angels crying’, is what I had told her. She came home from school one day and debunked my reason using words like heavy clouds and droplets. It was a moment of transition in both our lives.

Jennifer Lopez, the actress/singer, in an interview spoke of this change.

Speaking to Vogue Mexico, J.Lo delved into the complexities of parenthood, saying: “You will always adore your children. There is an acceptance they have of you. And then as they get older, they start to wonder, ‘Why are we doing this? Why is my mom doing that? Do I have to do it too?'” 

As parents, It’s so easy to forget that children are autonomous figures because they rely on us from the second they arrive in this world. We make hundreds of decisions a day year in year out on their behalf. We use our wisdom, love and nurturing side to ensure that only the best is enabled in their little lives.

When the time comes for them to start questioning your decisions, it is a moment of change which some parents find quite hard to contend with. Questioning your parental decisions takes on a step level character.

By this I mean that children start off by questioning small things but this morphs into something far bigger and more life changing during their teen years. At the start of their lives they may question your understanding of the world but as they grow they graduate to questioning your authority over them.

My daughter and I had many arguments – about how long she was allowed to go out for – curfew time; nose piercings (Yuk) and educational choices – to name a few.

It all worked out in the end. She is almost 24 years old and messages me everyday. I must have done something right, I hope!

Remember that challenging and questioning is a necessary part of growing up. We want them to take their rightful place in the world as strong people with independent minds but this transition starts at home.

So don’t fall into an emotional trap of seeing their challenging behaviour as a personal slight of your parenting. Easier said than done but it’s a healthy way of navigating tricky situations especially during the teen years.

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