A child’s long journey towards independence starts when it is born.  A very long period of dependence follows into infancy through babyhood to childhood and beyond. Parents need to be in it for the long haul, ready to encourage independence and self-reliance, resilience, confidence and survival. Children cannot have too much love and nurturing. The more people who love and care for them, the richer children’s lives will be and the more they will learn and thrive and feel secure and capable of going out into the world and forging their own path. This is one reason parental fighting over children on divorce is so tragic and the alienation of a child towards one parent by the other is the cruellest cut of all.
At the end of childhood, every parent proves their love in the letting go of their child, whether this is off on a gap year, to College or leaving home to begin their own lives as independent autonomous adults at some other time. Where parents split up the letting go begins earlier, when they foster the relationship with the other parent so their child can have that relationship and all it offers. Cutting out what the other parent can give is making a child do with less than they might have. The poem that follows ‘Walking Away’ by Cecil Day Lewis describes that moment in life when you watch your child start school, starting out on their education and life outside the home. It sums up so much we feel in a very beautiful way.
Author: Mary Banham-Hall, Family Mediator, Milton Keynes & Bedford
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