It’s hard to know when to step back from protecting our children and when to be there 24/7. It’s even harder to know when they’re old enough and mature enough to let them stretch their wings. It’s a tough call, and honestly those motherly instincts never go away, from when they are a newborn to when they’re having their own child, those instincts will always be there. And while the urgent way mothers go about things because they care more than anybody in the world, will never be a negative thing, it can sometimes be problematic.
It's hard to be able to let go of those motherly instincts because as moms, we know that childrent have to learn life lessons for themselves, even if that feels like the scariest and hardest thing a mother has to do in her life. The reason is because no matter what, no parent wants their child to be put in a tough situation.
Let's go through this list together and try to find the times that mothers need to let go a little, especially some of those strong instincts that can sometimes take over and get in the way of important life lessons. Hopefully by the end, moms will be able to find the perfect balance between knowing when to use those maternal instincts for good and when to let go.
15 When The Bad Habit Won’t Stop
It's tough to tell your child multiple times that they have to stop doing something because it's not good for them. When they keep insisting that they don't care or if they don't mind and start to do it in secret, it creates a barrier between the parent and child that can be carried on later in life.
It's important to step back from situations like this when you've done all you can do to try to convince a child to stop the bad habit they formed. Now this doesn't mean to support them with that bad habit, but it does mean that giving the child a little bit of space can really help them learn themselves why they should stop. This won't fix the habit overnight, but it will give them the opportunity to learn themselves and learn why they should take the steps to move in the right direction. This of course doesn't go for every situation especially when things are a bit more extreme, but it is perfectly fine to let those little bad habits go.
14 BFF Drama
Everyone under the sun had experience some form of drama with at least one of their so-called best friends, whether it's a little kindergarten spat about who's turn it is to play with the toy, or two adult best friends fighting over who gets to wear the black dress or date the guy or go for the promotion. We've all had to learn the hard way with these experiences because no one else knows our best friends more than we do.
In preschool, kindergarten, and elementary school, friendships are formed quite easily because everybody is dealing with the same situation and most kids are dealing with the same emotions in one space. There's bound to be best friend forever drama, and a parent can't really come in between that unless of course it escalates to a more serious matter. But generally the best friends forever drama will fade away and the child will find new friends to call their BFF. This is probably one of the most important times where motherly instincts can't just barge in and throw away any learning experience that can come from this experience. Let the child handle the situation themselves while still letting them know that they have their mother's support.
13 Dangerous Fun
Rollercoasters, road-trips, hiking; all of these things can be wonderful for the development of a kid, but it can also make a parent sprout a few grey hairs in the process. It’s hard as a parent to let the child be ‘free’ and experience potentially dangerous activities. But stepping back and remembering that almost everything in life presents some sort of danger can ironically ease a parent's concern or worry. This is a good time for a parent to step back and view the situation as an outsider, or even step into the shoes of the child.
Surprisingly the parent might be presented with a different perspective and they might be able to understand a little bit more about why something is so important to the child in the first place. Kids are much smarter than most think and when they want something, it's really hard to focus on anything else, sometimes motherly instincts can make a mother not as understanding in the moment, when understanding is key to balancing the over-protectiveness and trust.
12 Questions, Questions, Questions!
Motherly instincts can always be a haunting reminder of what should and shouldn’t be done. That includes when a kid is in their question phase, their most curious and crucial time of their life when it comes to learning the basics. With questions ranging from simple to complex, it hard to not tell the truth to a child when they’re so innocent. It might be tempting to keep things from them, or stretch the truth, but it’s important to remember that they’ll most likely remember that years from now when they learn the truth about something the hard way. It’s best to just be as honest as you can during this time, no matter how awkward or weird it might feel, it’s a great way to make sure that bond of trust between parent and child stays clearly in tact.
11 When Their Hobbies Are ‘Different’
Most parents want the best for their child, that's clearly a given. But I've also come across parents that want to vicariously live through their child by the hobbies and extracurricular activities the child has a passion for. I think this is also one of the most important times motherly instincts need to back off, a child should be able to choose what they want to do and how they want to spend their free time. Hobbies aren't something that can be just thrown to the side they generally speak volumes about the career path a child will take in the future. Just because a child’s hobbies are a little bit different, doesn't mean that they're headed in the wrong direction, it just means that they might like something a little bit different than what the parent liked at their age, and that’s totally fine!
Every child is eventually invited to go spend the night at a friend's house. Whether it be a birthday party where a bunch of kids are sleeping over, or if it's just their best friend. No matter what the circumstance, it's a big deal for a parent. It’s hard to see your child take their first steps towards leaving the nest. But we both know that a sleepover isn't nearly the same as a kid moving out, even though it does resemble a similar feeling. If anything, the sleepover is probably the safest bet to let a child have some freedom, since there will be parents there, constant supervision and they will never be alone. With the necessary precautions of meeting the parents and making sure everything is good to go, it's the time when a mother will need to step back and let their child have this learning experience in their life. They’ll go have fun, they know the rules, they know what's right and wrong, and they will have memories that will stay with them for the rest of their life.
It's important to know that light teasing is drastically different than bullying. Bullying should never be accepted and that is of course when a parent should step in to take action. Light teasing between friends can still be hurtful regardless, it should never happen in most cases, but it generally does when a while is in school. Still to this day many of us adults still face the occasional tease, whether if the person meant it to be harmful or not, it can still bother us. That’s not any different for a child, but in cases like this a parent should instead of stepping in based on motherly instincts, instead sit down with their child and explain to them why it’s important to be sure of themselves, to be confident, and to not like the small things like what children joke about get to them. Talking to the child as an equal in a situation like this can give them the strength to overcome. If it escalates beyond the small situation, that's when a parent needs to step in.
It easy for a mother to be resistant to the idea of a kid who wants to venture out and go exploring in the backyard, running around the park, or ruffling through the dirt. Seeing a child being independant can be tough. It makes a parent struggle with the idea that the child doesn't need them as much as they once did. It can be hard to parents to let go, even a little bit, and it's okay. However, don't let those extincts get the best of you, and of your child.
Under your supervision, allow your child to explore. They'll be okay, they'll imagine, create in their minds and have a blast. It's a great way for the trust between a parent and child take place and grow to new heights. Also, it allows them to assert their own indepedance and come into their own a little more. Don't worry, it woun't spiral a child out of control. Instead, it will form a mutual respect between the two of you, and that's an amazing moment and will help the child grow. .
7 The First Date
Fast forwarding a bit here to those teenage years. "Firsts" are always hard, especially first dates. While it can be stressful for the girl or boy going on the date, it can be even more stressful on a parent. It's hard seeing your little baby go off not only on their own, but with another person. Motherly instincts will be in full gear. From the moment you meet that significant other going on a date with your child, those instincts are going at a million miles an hour. You'll question everything about him or her, especially their intentions. You'll want to hold your teen safely in your arms and maybe even rewind to when the biggest problem was them sucking their thumb too much. BUT, here's one of those moments not to let those instincts take over. Letting go is hard but there is a sense of weight being lifted up of your shoulders. At this point, you've raised them the best you could and hope that you've instilled the core values of life and that they make good choices. A parent should feel confident in their child and let them go through the growing pains that is dating!
6 The First Love
Motherly instincts don’t disappear overnight, or when a child grows up. They’re always there no matter what, no matter what happens, or how good or bad a child is. Like mentioned above it’s tough when the first idea of love is introduced to a child, whether they see their mother and father holding hands, or if a child in their class gives them a ring pop and asks to marry them. Regardless of what the situation is, it’s hard to deal with and it’s even harder to push aside those motherly instincts, not allowing them to take over. When a parent’s pride and joy first think they’ve fallen in love, whether they’re 20 or 45, it’s a moment of happiness and worry for the parent. Feeling proud, yet wanting all the happiness for their child, a parent needs to remind themselves to let their child experience what they want to, letting them feel everything, and growing stronger with each new emotion.
5 When Kids Talk Back
They think they know everything, but they don’t know that it can be hurtful.
The urge to let your motherly instincts take over is so strong when you want to be completely honest with them about something when they’re not ready for it. It can be a hard inner struggle to deal with, knowing whether or not you should sit down with them and tell them what they should be doing and what they shouldn’t. It can be tempting, but sometimes that can be even more harmful to a child when a parent tries to dictate their life. Children are so mouldable at their young age, but pushing those instincts aside to focus on listening to what their having issues with, allowing them to open up to their parent, is key to moving past this angst filled time in their life.
4 Teaching, Might Not Be A Good Idea
Every parent wants their kid to learn as much as they can, but sometimes it can prevent that.
We all think we know what's best for our child, but one thing many parents have learned in the past and you can find their stories all over the internet, is trying to teach a child when the parent isn’t a teacher. This might be a bit more of a technical aspect than most other things on this list, but it's very important for the emotional growth and development of a child, and also to cause less confusion with their learning process. It's best to let the child's teacher teach them their curriculum, rather than trying to take it on as a mother. The instincts might tell you that you know best and you can teach them more things than a stranger can, which might be true in some cases, but regardless if you're right and the teacher is right, it can still be very confusing to be taught the same thing in two different ways at such a young age.
3 Attitude Won’t Stop
There are plenty of ways out there on the web on how to trick your child to behave, but like mentioned above, they’ll clearly remember it, and it can have the risk of a perpetual divide of trust. There comes a time in every child's life where the need to rebel is at the forefront of their mind. When the attitude won't stop no matter what, no matter what the parent does, it can be a tough situation to handle. Motherly instincts take over and the urge to be frustrated and not understanding towards the child may be hard to combat in the moment. It's hard knowing that the parent knows best, but also allowing the child room to grow in their own right and find things out on their own regardless if it's right or wrong. Being able to try to understand why the child is having attitude towards the parent, their friends, or other family members, is the first step in solving this issue, being able to have a clear mind and not be overtaken by motherly instincts is what will set you apart from other parenting methods.
2 Meeting The One
One of the hardest times in a parent’s life when watching their child grow up, is when they come home from college or visiting during the holidays and they bring back ‘the one’, to meet the family.
There comes a time in every child’s life when they’re old enough and go back home to introduce their significant other to the family and to you as the mother. Meeting the one can spark a number of emotions from a mother, the classic instincts of he’s not good enough, or jealousy that they spend more time with kid, it’s easy to let those deep rooted feelings that are completely natural as a parent, seep into everyday life by making you frustrated or agitated with the child, who’s now a young adult. Being able to overcome those emotions and move forward to support and accept the choices a child has made will help the parent grow as an individual as well.
1 When They Want To Move
When a child is no longer a ‘child’ and decides to move out, the strongest point in a mother’s life when their mother instincts go crazy.
When a child wants to move out on their own, or even when it’s first brought up to a mother, a mother might feel like they’re having a heart attack, but it will pass in time. It doesn’t get easier overnight when this new obstacle gets in the way of a strong mother and child bond, but there are ways to see the positive side of everything. The most intense time motherly instincts will start to run rampant is if they aren’t addressed. A clear way to fix this is to make sure communication is deemed important, as well as guidelines and plans for the year, when visits will be, when phone calls will take place, and just overall both the mother and child being able to hold the trust in high regards, after years of building it up to what it is now.