Celebrating the Growth of Our Chidren: No Peter Pan by Proxy

We hear it all the time: “They’re just growing up too fast!” Recently, I’ve seen and heard many parents lamenting the fact that their children are growing up. I know parents who refuse to let their children do new things because “that’s [their] baby” and people who will actually cry over their child reaching a milestone. I’ve come to think of these parents as having “Peter-Pan by Proxy.” They want their children to remain young because it increases the amount of time their children are dependent upon them as parents and adds to their feelings of self-worth. I am here to tell you – This disease is not ok! We should embrace the growth of our children.
Watching my children grow is one of (if not the main one) joys of my life. The transformation from baby to small child to little person is fascinating. They are beautiful and special, and I am so excited about who they are becoming. When they learn a new thing, my happiness is two-fold. First, I am a little pleased with the freedom that their new bit of independence allows me. But most importantly, I am excited and proud that they are becoming self-sufficient individuals. My job as a parent is to be their guide and support system as they grown and encounter life. Why then, should it make me sad when they are successful in becoming people?
It’s counter-productive for a parent to mourn a child sleeping in their own bed, being potty trained, starting school, attending a sleepover, or any other of childhood’s milestones. This is life! It’s what parents do! The sadness isn’t a way of showing love for your child, but rather a way of showing your own selfishness as a parent. It says “I would rather this child stay young and need me” when it should say “I am teaching this child to be a normal person!”
I’m not saying that I don’t occasionally miss the sweet moments of holding a tiny newborn or the convenience of a crib; I do. But those wistful thoughts are fleeting moments that occur only occasionally in the wonderful experience that is growing a child. My children are happy, they are healthy, they are my greatest blessings, and I am so thankful that I get to be a part of their lives.
I’ll make this final comparison. I am a teacher. I see it as my job to make my students more literate and well-read than they were when they came to me. Is it nice when they need my help? Sure. Do I miss them when they leave my stage of their education? Sure. But, do I get sad when I watch them be successful? Absolutely not. Because it’s what I do, and when they’re successful, I’ve reached my goal. So it is with my children. When they encounter life’s accomplishments and work toward becoming their own people, I myself am successful. I will not fill their childhoods with wishful thinking for my own personal desire to be needed. I’d rather be a proud momma who celebrates their journey.

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One thought on “Celebrating the Growth of Our Chidren: No Peter Pan by Proxy

  1. Just for the record…….The title is spelled correctly here, but the url has a typo. That’s why linking to this post makes me look illiterate. Just in case someone is wondering. 😉

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