We hear staggering news of children (boys and girls alike) who get abused almost every day, and it is very frightening just to let go of our little darlings. It’s not the issue of being paranoid or untrusting to other people, but only overly concerned with our own kid’s safety.
We cannot be with our children all the time. There will come a phase in their lives where they will demand a bit of freedom, and we should know when we should let go so our lovely little birdie will learn to fly on her own.
What Is The Right Age To Let Go
It’s essential that we listen to our kids when deciding on this. Some kids tell their parents upfront, but others are too shy or too afraid to voice it out because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. However, we must learn to read their body language and read between the lines when they are telling us things. When you have a hint, don’t argue with it anymore, respect her and save her from embarrassment. It will help her build confidence in herself.
Make Them Smart and Strong
But before we do the letting go, it’s vital that we prepare them so that their time flying alone will be an enjoyable one for them. Teach them well that they may be smart enough to protect themselves from predators.
- Teach the difference between appropriate touch and inappropriate touch. “When I talk to younger kids about sex and their bodies, I think the most important thing to do is be concrete,” says Dr. Jamie Howard, a clinical psychologist here at the Child Mind Institute who specializes in families and trauma. continues. “You can say, ‘the only grownups that touch your body are mom and dad and the doctor, particularly private parts.’ This changes, of course, as kids get older, but being developmentally appropriate in your conversations does not mean you can’t be concrete as well.” It may be awkward, but it’s crucial that you arm your kid with information to avoid making her a victim of sexual abuse or harassment. Remind your kid that it’s her body and that people should respect it. Tell her that no one should touch her underneath her clothes unless medically necessary and should always be in the presence of her parents.
- It’s not always about strangers. Most of the reported sexual abuse is committed by someone close to the child. Be always aware of who she spends time with and what activity they do. Tell your child that if anyone (a close relative or not) did something to her that she thinks is not right, she has to inform you right away.
- Practice a No-Secret Relationship with your kid. Always engage her in conversations, especially when it involves her. Let her be open to you by being open to her. Never interrupt her when she’s trying to tell you something, it might be something significant. Be her best friend. Child therapist Natasha Daniels suggests to “Tell your child that no matter what happens, when they tell you anything about body safety or body secrets they will NEVER get in trouble.”
- Faith and trust are very important. Explain to her clearly what these two things are and why they are of importance. Assure her that you will always listen to everything and never get mad whether what she says is proper or not. You can always talk to her in a manner that she will not hide anything from you or be afraid to open up to you.
- Be involved in your kid’s life, by knowing where she’s going, who she’s with, and what her activities are. Befriend her friends. Train her always to open up to you and never to break your trust.
It’s very heartbreaking to let go of our little ones, but we must, for them to know how to survive in the world that is not the fantasy dreamland they grew up listening to in our stories. It’s a world where there are people who care for nothing but themselves, who are good at manipulating people who are weaker.
There’s no exact formula that we can impart to our kids but there are safety measures we can teach them at an early age, so that they may know how to take care and protect themselves.
According to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Alan Ravitz, “The main strategy should be encouraging kids to talk to their parents, no matter what.” Letting go of our kids is taken in baby steps until they are smart and strong enough to spread their wings and fly freely. The values we inculcate in them will always stay with them. They may sometimes forget and may fall, but like all parents, it’s important to assure them that we will always be here to protect them.
Falling is a part of flying, and we, parents, are the nets that are always willing to catch them until they can fly again.