I heard the joke about a man who upon receipt of the marriage certificate at his wedding kept scrutinizing the document. After a while of uncomfortable silence the officiating minister asked him what he was looking for and he said “I can’t seem to find the expiry date”!
As my children grow older and attain various milestones, I’ve had cause to ask myself “when does / should parenting “expire”?” Is it when they turn 18? 21? Get a job? Get married? Some people are quick to say “never” and while I understand that we remain our children’s parents for life, should the act of parenting have a “shelf life” of forever? It’s interesting that parents and children seem to have differing opinions on this “expiry date” matter depending on what is at stake. Let me explain – your 20 year old son wants the luxury of having a car at his disposal to “paint the town red”, believes he doesn’t need to give an account for his late night movement but wants you as the parent to fuel the car and probably fund his love life! Or your 16-year-old daughter insists that she is a big girl and should be allowed to have a later curfew than she does but argues that she is too young to fill out a visa application form for herself! Some parents on the other hand have sent their children to school in different countries trusting that they would be fine and when the children come home on holidays they begin to micro manage different aspects of the child’s life. I recall with much amusement my friend wanting to help her 19-year-old son cross the road!
While we may laugh at some of these examples; it’s a real issue that I (and I suspect a few others too) need help with. My head tells me that different “ingredients” in the “parenting mix” should expire at different times but my heart (and mouth) doesn’t always listen to my head! Letting go can be hard especially on the emotions.
As I parent, I pray for the wisdom to find the balance and the courage to let go at the right seasons of my children’s lives, knowing that I’ve done what I need to do, taught them what they need to know and reinforced the core values they need to become productive and successful individuals that are useful not just to themselves but the society they find themselves in…So help me God!
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave your comments on www.parentinvestment.com.
7 thoughts on “Expiry Date”
Very interesting article.
Good write up as always, insightful and thought inducing. To each parent/child relationship, different ‘expiry dates’. Keep them coming 👍🏾
Good one Charity and I guess it’s human nature for head and heart to be at loggerheads. I pray that just as the tertiary institution treats them as adults and they bear the consequences of their actions including those that affect their health so must we learn to let them make mistakes and learn from them in the hope that the mistakes would be few and far in between since we have done some good parenting. That’s the head talking. The heart says you must learn from other peoples’ mistakes and I have a list of such mistakes and will remind them. A Yoruba adage says an elder is not in the market and still allow a new born’s head become warped!
Good blog. There is no expiry date to parenting. There are rules of engagement. The WHO definition of child is anyone that has a parents. You teach character, education., Godly reliance, family values and finance. You gradually graduate them as they show independence and reach major milestones. After a while they get it. The goal is that they become better than us all around. Don’t micromanage. They will turn out well. You did.
There is no expiry date to parenting. While you might not be physically present, you parent via prayer and your door is kept open for advice when requested.
Too true. One doesn’t really know when to let go. I have 2 boys 19 and 17 and I find that I am always micro-managing them. Even just this morning I asked my son what he was up to today and he said he was doing his laundry and tidying up the apartment. All of a sudden I found myself telling get him to also do this and do that. He said mum I’ve got it all covered. I have planned my day. I then found myself thinking hmmmm am I being too fussy and molly cuddling. These boys have been on their own for a while in the UK. Do I need to spend so much time helping them pack and tidy up over the phone. I am not sure to be honest. May God help us to know when to let go so they can get a handle on life.
It is as if you are talking about my son. He believes he has the right to the car, while I fuel it. Even when I want to go out he offers to take me there. I believe to shorten my business so that his won’t fall into injury time! I just de look o Charity! How I go do?