Our career series is gradually coming to an end and we will soon begin the relationship series.
I’m sure you noticed that September has been our career series month, well, October is our relationship series month.
Today, we are talking about "THE INTRICATE ART OF LETTING GO AT MIDLIFE"
Our focus for letting go is letting go of your children.
Having children early also means being prepared to have an empty nest early.
By midlife, some parents are transitioning into the phase of having “adult” teenagers.
Teenagers experience the joy of leaving home and gaining independence for self expression in their new locations.
Parents, on the other hand, experience a bouquet of new emotions; the joy of your child growing up, the changes in your child, changes in school runs and schedules, concerns of what independence may do to your child, and the possibility of losing your relationship with your child.
Q & A
In today’s article, we will be answering some questions on parents letting go of their children at midlife.
1. Why do parents experience this sudden feeling of loss as their children leave home?
Sometimes, it is a seeming loss of meaning. It is made more complex if the relationship between the parents is already cold. Some parents slip into a near depression state, experience sudden fears, and sometimes prevent the child from leaving home.
At times, your child speaks so loudly about his/her vision and dreams and none of those ideas involve or mention you, the parents. Again, it may feel like you have reached the last opportunity to build a positive lifelong relationship with your child.
It may also feel like the anchor that holds the family together has just moved and the family structure is about to change significantly. When parents define their life purpose around a child, it becomes even more complex and intricate to unravel at midlife.
2. How do I prepare for letting go?
The key to letting go of your “adult” teenagers at midlife is to enjoy them as children now. Create time to bond, create time to enjoy the uniqueness of each child, and create time to laugh, cry, & experience newer and deeper emotions together. Gradually begin the conversation with your child about leaving home some day and what it will mean to you and your child.
If letting go was so easy and quick, does it suggest that you did not really have deep connections with the child, or you were not involved in the raising of the child, or the child represents an unpleasant experience, your personality does not accommodate such depth of connection and expressions. Maybe the sliding relationship quality between you and your partners is making you unconsciously pawn the child as the object of vengeance.
3. What if my children have already gone and we don't have a good relationship?
If your children have already gone, it is still not too late to create a good relationship.
The first step is to open up to them and express how you feel. You need to be ready to show vulnerability to your child and also be ready to apologize for your errors without trying to justify your actions.
The mistake we sometimes make as parents is that we try to portray ourselves either as perfect people who never make any mistakes or we never see the need to apologise for our wrongs simply because we are older.
Resolve pending issues and be ready for the compromises and tradeoffs.
Your role and position as parent and provider does not suggest that you are always right with your ideas and decisions.
Have the difficult conversations and be open to new insights & ideas.
Initiate the communication periodically. Say hello and talk about non-controversial issues and non-pressing issues. Talk with the purpose of connection, new relationships and longer term views that help form closer bonds.
THE “WHITE OUT” MIDLIFE ENCOUNTER
Your concerns for your children are valid. You may be concerned that they are not ready to stand independently. You do not want them to experience hardship or become exposed to the harsh elements of life.
You may even be asking yourself, “how will I continue to show dedication, love, concern to my child or be involved and take decisions in the daily life of my child?”
This is just a midlife encounter. We call it the “White Out” and one of the experiences is the transitioning to the empty nest. You are going to be okay and you will experience positive newness.
“Everything that begins in life, must surely come to an end.” Time is the key factor for all things.
When you reach this transition stage, it is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself at another level, to reconnect with your partner and to regain connection with your family or community.
You have fresh time in your hands, so you can
Engage in your new hobbies and activate your previous plans that you did not have time to execute.
Create new experiences, plan trips to beautiful locations around you, go back to school or engage in community work.
Start writing your book series, create a Youtube channel and create new videos, create blog or vlog and many other great ideas.
Midlife Encounters are experiences we can manage better with more information, education, and sharing. Let’s talk about your midlife encounters.
If you need to talk to someone today about your midlife encounters and experiences - send us an email to book a coaching/counselling session.