Years ago a good friend and I were out walking and chatting about mothering. I shared with her about my concerns with pop culture invading my children’s minds. She shared her time-honored theory of “fencing”.
Using her arms, she demonstrated how she forms a fence around her children with boundaries and rules that are appropriate to each child. Then as each child grows, the pen and rules expand. Finally, at maturity the parents “arms” are open wide and our babes are free to roam outside our fence. But our arms are always there to welcome them back home if need be.
I liked this analogy and have often recalled it in times of parental strife with our own three girls.
Now, the fence is open for one of our daughters and it has been hard to not immediately round her back in - to not whip out my boundaries, tools and rules that I am sure will help her. Yes, I want to hold her, which I am always free to do. But I also want to tell her what to do, how to do it and why she is doing it.
It just is hard to recognize that she is an adult now. That certain decision are hers to be researched, chosen – or not – and followed through on. And the consequences are hers to face, not ours.
When you love your child you want to see them happy and in order to see them happy you will even draw them back into your corral.
But, when you really love your child you know you cannot do that no matter how hard you want to see them happy.
Because in the end they must be their own person – with their own boundaries, decisions, rules - if they are to be happy.