When I found out about my then husband’s sex addiction, it wasn’t because I was looking for it. I found out when the police came knocking on my door and told me he had been arrested at the airport as he was heading back from a business trip. That started my journey into a very dark time of trauma, flashbacks, deep grief and loss.
Just like you, I lost my own sense of self-worth, identity and grounding. We lost so much that year. In fact it was about 3-4 years after that experience that I connected to Marsha Means. She had heard about my journey through a dear friend of mine. Marsha called me and asked me to share my story with her. I did with great anxiety and pain. For those of you that have talked to Marsha, you know her tenderness to our pain.
How will I know when my child is ready to take on more independence and responsibility? How will I know they are ready to take on a task with confidence & success? Should I give more internet freedom? If so, when? Like many things, because each child, family, & set of dynamics vary from one household to the next, the answer to all of these is, “It depends.”
As parents, it’s easy to get caught up in “helicopter parent” mode at times. We love our children & desire to spare them the grief we have seen in others or have experienced for ourselves. We’ve touched on how to Educate, Protect, & Be a Safe Place in previous newsletters in this series. The next step requires all of them working together as we prepare our child for independence. Truth is, as much as we may want to, we won’t always be there to shield, protect, & educate. Our kids are growing up whether we like it or not. They will begin making their own adult decisions, good or bad. The time we have to impress on them the hard-earned wisdom we’ve gained is ticking away. We don’t want to be overburdensome & see our efforts backfire as children who may feel suffocated rebel the first chance they get. We also don’t want to give them too much freedom too soon & go on about the rest of our life, only to realize little Johnny got into a LOT more trouble than we imagined could be possible. Where is the balance?
Kids are naturally curious. It’s a beautiful thing, really. My daughter just turned 3 & has fully entered the “Why?” stage. If you’ve ever had or been around kids this age for any length of time, you may remember how sometimes that curiosity can drive even the most patient person nuts some days! Even in the crazy three million, six hundred sixty-five thousand, three hundred twenty-seven “Why?”s in the first few waking hours of the morning, before you’ve even had a chance to finish that now cold cup of coffee, & your eyes begin bulging out of your head, & your head might even begin this little crazy twitch thing to the side from trying to keep up with all the words & questions coming out of this tiny little being that only a few short years prior was silently gurgling away in the womb *breath*….yes, even then, their curiosity is truly a beautiful thing.
If you know me, it doesn’t take long to find out I. Love. Kids. I love seeing the world through their eyes. I love teaching them & getting to see the lightbulb click over their head, their eyes go wide & their mouths drop open at the wonders they take in. And truly, there are wonders to be discovered! So many little things our adult minds can overlook or take for granted…to a child, they are a gem & a treasure. Unfortunately, not all the world is structured to honor a growing child’s natural curiosity.
Does your child have access to a computer? Cell phone? Tablet? Video game system? Or other device that connects them to the internet? Do they have friends & family that do? (Spoiler alert: If you’re reading this, the answer is “yes.”) Just like many things in life, the internet comes with a plethora of good as well as bad. It allows us to connect with friends & family in ways we never could before, cutting through hundreds or thousands of miles & oceans between us. It contains a wealth of information at our fingertips & gives many a place to speak their mind in ways they would have not felt freedom to, otherwise. That’s not even scratching the surface, but I think you get the picture. If you’re like me, you desire your children to get all the good out of technology, while leaving as much of the bad behind as possible. While it is not feasible (or healthy) to forever keep our children in a secluded & perfectly safe bubble, rest assured there is more we can do than throw them to the wolves, cross our fingers, & hope for the best.