The Only Way to Grow is to Let Go

When we were all kids, our parents are the ones that took care of us and making sure that we are growing strong and healthy. They will give us their best in providing our needs and there is nothing for us to worry because we knew that they will always be there for us. But as we grow older, we want to explore and try new things and that’s when the problem begins – they couldn’t let go.

This post is specially written to all the parents out there who find it hard to let their children go. Here’s an inside scoop on what’s going on in their mind and why they want to leave home. I’m writing this as a perspective of a daughter and I’m not here to condemn anyone but to express my opinions. My mum and dad are one of those parents that couldn’t let me go. And I’m already 22 years old!

But first, to the not-so-little children out there (I’m referring to those that are already 18 years old and above)… As we grow older, we would want to see the world and there are so many things out there for us to explore, and sometimes we would like to further our studies or apply for a job in another state or country. But the our only obstacle is our parents; partly because our they don’t allow us to go and come out with all sorts of reasons like “that place isn’t safe”, “it’s too far”, “you won’t be able to handle it on your own”, “you’re not independent enough” or the most common one… “There are lots of universities and colleges here. Why would you want to go so far just to get a certificate back?” Those reasons are valid, but we all know there were all excuses and not their main reason on why we cannot go.

You see… Partly they don’t want you to go is because they love you and they couldn’t imagine you living in a dangerous world without them. They couldn’t stop thinking what if something bad would happen to you and they’re not there to protect you. I don’t blame them for this because they have been with us for at least 17 years! That’s a long time and it’s hard to let go of something you treasure so much. Imagine giving away something you love!

But parents… If we never get out of our comfort zone now, then when can we ever get out of our comfy bubble? One day we will have to move out and move on as a young adult to tackle our own issues, without the security of knowing that your watchful care is always going to be near. If we don’t fall and fail, how can we ever grow and learn? Dr. Jonas Salk once said “Good parents give their children roots and wings—roots to know where home is and wings to fly off and practice what has been taught them.” How can we practice what you’ve taught us when we can’t use our wings? It’s like you’ve given us wings, but don’t want us to fly. says that if you never let a child test their wings by moving a little further away from the parents’ care, then sometimes they end up developing the symptoms of fear, extreme shyness or a social phobia and end up being afraid of moving forward in life. Not all kids will develop psychological or emotional fears because of overprotective parents, but it can be one of several factors that slow down their personal development and inner strength to move forward toward the next stage of life. Yes, I know it’s hard for you to do it because of love, but remember, part of that love is to equip us (your children) and prepare us to one day leave the nest to literally launch forward.

I like how CBN put it : “Parenting is just like a space shuttle launch. We spend years getting them ready to have a successful launch because one day we know that we will have to do a launch sequence to countdown the days as they head out to another stage of life. This is the way that God designed it- kids are supposed to move out and move on to build lives of their own. If overprotective parents stall that process, it scrubs the launch and leaves the child stranded on the launch pad.”

God has so much in store for us (both parents and children) and sometimes it requires us to step out from our comfort zone to receive it. It can be scary sometimes going to an unfamiliar ground, but if we don’t go, then we will never know what’s in that place. The book  “Do Hard Things” by Alex and Brett Harris says “If we want to continue to grow and learn for the rest of our lives, we must beat these fears – not by making them go away, but by recognizing that there is something worse than discomfort, worse than the unknown, worse than failure. The worst thing is to never try at all.” 

To those parents that don’t want us to go for a particular job because you heard it’s stressful and you wouldn’t want us to stress ourselves out, hey… Different people have different personalities. It may be stressful to some people, but we might enjoy working it. We’ll never know what it’s like until we personally have tried it ourselves. If we only live based on other people’s opinions and comments, then what’s the point of living? It’s our lives and not theirs. Hence, it’s our own opinions and decisions that are important.

And speaking of decisions… Sometimes you just have to allow us to make our own decision, even if you think we’re making the wrong one. I’m not talking about decisions to steal or commit crime. That are moral values and it’s totally different from what I’m trying to say. I’m referring to decisions like dating the person we like, and applying for the job we want. Certain decisions need to be made by us. I know you want the best for us, but if you keep making decisions for us, then we will tend to rely everything on you. And let’s just face the fact that you can’t be with us for the rest of our lives. Decision making is part of growing up, and it’s okay if we made the wrong choice. As long as we learn from it and not make the same mistake again.

Parents, if you saying that there are lots of job opportunities or lots of great colleges/universities here, and you see no reason for your children to go to other state or country for it, well, sometimes it’s not really about the jobs or the colleges/universities. Sometimes, we just want to leave home because we want to be independent and explore. The best time for us to explore and understand who we really are, is the time when at our twenties. That is because we’re still new to the “world” and we’re not married so there is not much commitment. If you only let us go the day we got married, then that is too late, because we wouldn’t have the time. When we were younger, we are “tied” to you (don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing). When we’re married, we’ll be “tied” to our own family. So, the only time we could have fun and be all out for that life-changing adventure is in between, which is usually our twenties. It’s when we spread our wings into a whole new world. And it’s good to let us be on our own and experience those “hardships” because this is to prepare us when we have our own family in the future. We need to have a little taste of “how hard is it to earn money and how pressure it is when bills come at the end of the month”, then we will have a taste of life.

I know this post is very long and wordy, but at least now you know what your twenty-something year old son/daughter needs. We appreciate everything you did for us, but you “organizing” our lives is not what we need, though it may be what we want. We need you to be our parents – to guide us and prepare us for the future; not “planning” and “running” our lives for us. We’re already adults and we need to learn to make a living. I really hope that after reading this, you will consider letting your “princess/prince” to spread their wings into the world. Each of us has lots of opportunities, and it’ll be sad if we couldn’t go for it, because those are also part of life experiences.

“There is more to a boy than what his mother sees. There is more to a boy then what his father dreams. Inside every boy lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his father’s dreams aren’t big enough, and sometimes his mother’s vision isn’t long enough. And sometimes the boy has to dream his own dreams and break through the clouds with his own sunbeams.” – Ben Behunin (Remembering Isaac: The Wise and Joyful Potter of Niederbipp)


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