From Tami: Personal Decisions

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My children are getting older now. The only babies in my life are my two grandchildren. I have an elementary school student, two middle-schoolers, and two high-schoolers. The rest are out of the house—in college, working, married, or a combination of the above. Now I am still years away from being an empty-nester, but sometimes I think about all the choices my children are making as they grow up.

Which school to attend. What degree to pursue. Whom to date. Whom to marry. Where to live.

So many decisions that they make, these people who are forever my kids but are children no longer.

And what do you do if the choices your children make are not what you want for them?

Well parenting is a huge balancing act (as I say all the time), and everyone always tells you to pick your battles. This is certainly true when your children are small, but it holds true even as they grow. So much of parenting is the anxiety of judging when your kids are mature enough to make certain decisions on their own.

He doesn’t want to go to college? She wants to be a musician instead of a lawyer? They want to get married already?

One of the most important things I have learned through this process of watching my children grow is that they will be who they will be. No one can change that. Fighting the tide of your child’s personality and life choices only hurts you in the end.

If you push back too hard against the decisions your children make, they may simply stop telling you what they have chosen for themselves. Painful as it may be, sometimes we need to step back and watch our children’s decisions unfold. Sometimes our fears are correct. Sometimes, we are proven wrong. I love it when that happens, because it reminds me of how independent and capable they really are.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can’t ever voice your concerns—I strive to have the type of relationship with my kids where they value my input on their choices. I just need to bear in mind that a huge part of maintaining that relationship is allowing them to make those choices regardless of my feelings.

It is definitely a struggle, to decide that my child is old enough to be making certain choices, and then to stick to that conviction regardless of what they choose.

It can be very difficult to let go, to trust that your child is choosing what makes them happy and whole. But regardless of how you feel about your child’s decisions, I find it important to remember that no one likes being told what to do. If your child wants something, loves someone, moves far away, etc., your disapproval is not going to change that. All it will do is drive distance between your child and you.

If, however, you manage to show your unconditional support and love for your child, both you and your child will benefit tremendously. You will both know that whatever happens, your child can approach you with successes and defeats, and that you will stand by them regardless. It will bring you closer.

There is more than one way to lead a life. Almost nothing has only one correct answer (except math homework), and each child is an individual. I suppose it only stands to reason that their way isn’t always the one we anticipated.

We do all that we can to raise strong, independent children. It is just a shock, sometimes, to realize that you have succeeded. But that’s what Super-Moms do—we raise our children to be Super-Kids, and then watch them as they embark on their own adventures. I know we all sometimes struggle with these issues, but I also know that you can find the right balance in your own situation. After all…

That’s why you’re a Super-Mom.


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