Some days ago, I was strolling with my kids and came across this ad for a Spanish bank. I laughed a lot because I believe it is a good highlight of the Spanish culture and also (and sorry if I get unpolitically correct) one of its main challenges. (It says: “why do you need to buy pans if I always prepare the “croquetas” for you??)
I have always appreciated the richness and strength of the family here. I love the warmth and the help that usually feature the family bonds in the south of Europe in general. And even though it is always hard to generalize, I am convinced this is precisely this special Iberian tie that helps undergo the crisis here.
I also have to admit that I am surprised by this closed and dependent relationship. It can take the shape of overusing the grandparents for child care, or being used to picking up prepared food from parents in tupper wears to the syndrome of the “paying everything for” family.
And testifying this constant presence of the parents within the life of their children until grown up ages, I ask myself: How to prompt our children to fly alone?
I believe this is one of the most difficult talks of being parents: raising our children for them to live us! But I also think it is one of the greatest things! Enabling them with the right tools so they can fly away from us…helping them not to depend on us. What a great satisfaction…seeing them building their lives without asking us anything!
And, as a mum, I ask myself, THE question: How do you do that? How to prepare our children to be independent?
I believe there are 2 main pillars:
1. As parents, being aware that we teach them to leave us!
Some of you might have seen some years ago a French movie called “Tanguy” (quite funny by the way, so I suggest you watch it!). The topic is a 40 years old guy who still lives at home with his parents and does not want at all to go away!
We could feel sorry for parents who have to go through this type of situation and really, I believe this is not the kids full responsibility but rather their parents!
Many psychoanalysts assert that the impossibility of leaving one’s parents at an adult’s age is not something of constitution but rather of education. In general, it can be linked to the fact that the person has not learnt to stand separations or that he/she was not prepared enough to feel able to face on his/her own his/her adult life.
So, the first challenge seems to be: What do we do to educate our children to separate from us? The child development is a long way full of separations. At each step, he/she needs to separate from the one he/she was before but also from his/her parents, turning into an independent human being. This is difficult as, as parents, we also need to stand this change and help our child be aware that he/she remains the same.
2. Giving them the confidence they can do it!
Since very small, we can teach our children how to find their own solutions: from conflicts they have to go through at school or handling their money and/or creating their own ways. Not getting them used to us running behind to do everything for them can be one of the keys!
When I look at my children today (especially them being small), I find it hard to think they will leave us. And I believe it is interesting to think about the following: Why, sometimes as parents, we would like our kids for remain dependent on us? What –most of the time- unconscious need do we have to “keep” our kids?
I think that as parents, we will enjoy taking care of our grown up children in the future, even some of us might love cooking “croquetas” for them (this is not my case, I know it already) but really, when this becomes an habit, is it good for them? We should even ask ourselves if this is good for us?