Single Parent Faith

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Connecting with our Kids at any Age


The mother-child relationship is paradoxical and, in a sense, tragic. It requires the most intense love on the mother's side, yet this very love must help the child grow away from the mother and to become fully independent.” – Erich Fromm (German Psychoanalyst 1900-1980)


I always enjoy running across a file in my computer where I’ve documented a moment in the life of my child. Here’s a snapshot of a moment with my daughter at age 11. 

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It’s my daily ritual to call my daughter at daycare in the afternoons. It gives us an opportunity to connect and gives her the chance to share anything that’s on her mind prior to me picking her up. Sometimes she tells me, “Mama, I’m not feeling too good,” which is sometimes code for, “I don’t want to go to soccer practice.” Sometimes she’ll tell me, “I just want to go home and snuggle with you.”


Often she’s doing well and wants a friend to come over. Sometimes she lets me know I interrupted something fun and she’ll say,
“Hi Mama! Can I go? I was playing a really fun game!”
“Yes sweety. I just called to tell you I love you.”
 “I love you too Mama! Bye!”

During those abrupt moments, I know she’s doing very well because she doesn’t need her mama. She feels secure and steady enough on her own. But just when I think she doesn't need me anymore and I stop calling, she notices. She misses my calls, even if it’s just to act like she doesn’t want to talk to me. Because of this, when she acts disinterested in the conversation, I've learned not to take it personal. Even when they are short and brief, these calls are necessary to her. It is her lifeline to staying connected. She knows I love her because I am maintaining the routine— the routine of the “I love you” call.

You have to know that my daughter has quite the incredible sense of humor and she’s very much in touch with creating joy. Being this way is a blessing to her, as well as a tremendous blessing to me. Having her in my life has connected me to the joyfulness in living. She was born wanting to laugh and smile.

During one recent call to daycare, after the daycare employee transferred my call to her, she answered in a very animated and drawn out tone, “Helloooo! Seeeeexy Maaamaaa!”

We both broke into laughter. With that unexpected greeting, the work stress I was consumed with earlier was immediately washed away with a wave of humor. My daughter’s joy catapulted me into what is essential, what really matters most. It is in these impromptu moments that we find our true nature that is joy.  
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She’s older now, our rituals have changed, however, the constant remains— the need to connect. At this stage of her life, and teen demeanor, she is not asking to snuggle with me, though when she resurfaces from her moods, or is having a moment of uncertainty with her boyfriend, she will initiate a connection. It could be a text, a call, or asking me to join her to go work out. 

I reflect back to what I learned during her time in daycare, and I remember, the key is not to take her need for separation personally, but rather rejoice that she is secure enough to advance into this evolution of her individuality. As her parent, I can let her know that I am always here and available for her when she wants to connect. No matter the teen tug of moods, I will never give up reaching across to her. I’m the adult, I can defer to her being too busy for me, but it is my job to demonstrate my love is steady and available always. 

Ella Venezia
Copyright © 2012 Ella Venezia. All Rights Reserved.

Image Source: © All rights reserved by Fotografie Van Kolck

8 comments:

  1. The parent is supposed to help the child become independent...Who helps the parent become independent? ;-)

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    1. Haha! Good point Michael ! It's a process for parents as well. It's such a delicate balance of independence from our kids and the right (healthy) amount of engagement.
      -Ella

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  2. Good question Michael. I find myself hugging my teenager, squeezing tight. It's more for me than him most of the time :) Thanks for reminding us Ella, that reaching out consistently bridges any divide.

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    1. Alvarado- Hugging is defintely a way to connect! Great reminder! Affection is so important, especially because it conveys so much love. Your hugs mean alot to him, even if your son isn't letting on....just yet. :) Keep on being a loving mom!
      -Ella

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  3. I agree. It's important to let your kids become independent and know that you're always there for them and a hug. Good to meet you and thanks for coming over to comment on Marcia's "My Gutsy Story."

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    1. Sonia- Thank you for your thoughts on this post. Isn't that something how just being available to our kids (being reliable and expressing our interest and love) is what supports them on their stretch toward independence.
      You're welcome. I enjoyed your blog and plan on visiting again.
      -Ella

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  4. I agree with you.. we must let our children become independent and not take it personally when they don't show that they need us. My son is 12 now and he is becoming more independent every day. I like that, it makes me proud but it does sadden me just a little because he's growing up.

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    1. Angela- I understand, it is bittersweet to witness one's child grow. But I like how you can be proud of his achievement as he reaches more and more independence. It means also that you are giving him the love and support he needs to feel secure enough in himself to explore his independence. Keep up the great work!
      ~Ella

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