A lifestyle blog from a forty-something mum

Saturday, 5 September 2015

Letting Go of our Adult Children

It's not easy to let go of our children, no matter how old they are. But if you love your offspring aren't you supposed to set them free, in the hope that some day they'll come back to you with a deeper level of understanding and respect?

If you fail to support their decisions, will they ever turn into responsible adults who can cope with the chaos of real life?

When daughter, Sophia, announced that she wanted to apply for Camp America this summer, I had no problem with that. What worried me were her plans to stay in the US for three weeks at the end of camp and travel alone. Especially as she's five foot nothing and could easily pass for fifteen years of age.

My father was furious with me for supporting Sophia's decision, but as she's almost 21 years of age what are you supposed to do exactly? I remembered the time when he barred me from visiting New York at the age of eighteen, to work as an au pair for six months. I have never forgotten this, and suspect my decision to support my daughter was partly an act of rebellion almost thirty years too late.

You hope only that you've equipped your children with the skills to survive in the real world. As a family we've travelled a lot and our daughters are used to getting lost, lugging cases and getting out of scrapes. I was cautiously optimistic that Sophia would cope well with the highs and the lows of her trip.

And so, she travelled with my blessing. I hoped that we'd stay in touch, but a non-existent mobile signal put pay to that and instead, I received only intermittent emails for three long months. I went to bed each night and fell asleep hoping that she was safe.

During this summer my daughter has...

Been bitten by a poisonous spider.

Got completely and utterly lost in Downtown LA.

Lost her glasses in the Pacific Ocean. 

And that's just what she's shared so far...

She's also...

Worked incredibly hard.

Been on an amazing adventure.

Learnt to trust her own instincts.

Grown-up a lot.

And made lots of new friends.

Can a mum wish for any more than that?

Copyright©2015 Izzie Anderton


  1. We have to let them go but I am dreading that time...
    What an adventure Sophia has been on....Bitten by a poisonous spider! Good grief!

  2. I've been waiting to read how her summer went. Sounds like it was a great experience! I'm sure it was very hard to let her go so far away and then to only be able to email! It must be so interesting to hear her adventures now!

  3. What a brilliant thing to read. I can imagine how hard it is to let them go. My 14yo is already talking about travelling and, if I'm honest, it's one thing I really don't want them to do! Although doing Camp America sounds good as it's a safer environment. It must be wonderful to have her back home.

  4. It's eye-opening reading your thoughts as I was so determined to be independent when I was 18-21. It must have been so hard for my mum to let me go when I travelled the world for 18 months but she couldn't really stop me - I suspect with or without her blessing I would have gone anyway! Sophia may have got lost and only shared a few snippets, but I bet you she's had the best time ever. Sometimes learning and exploring on your own two feet is the best experience ever and I hope I remember that when it's my turn to let go! x

  5. I'm sure it did her a world of good exploring and working on her own across the pond. She must be so happy too that she has such a supportive and wonderful mother.

  6. I was so on that page when my son when to New Zealand and he has returned happier, wiser and more mature and I am so proud of what he did. It helps to prepare them for life as an adult but more than that gives them a life changing experience and yes that is worth the risks involved I think

  7. I love this statement, it is so true "If you fail to support their decisions, will they ever turn into responsible adults who can cope with the chaos of real life?" I believe you did the right thing, even if it was a rebelliion against your father, you brought your girls up giving them the skills to succeed. Awesome mom you are.

  8. You are the parent children pray for. She should write about her experience blog, look at magazines: the type, length & tone of the articles. It sound fascinating, I think people in her age group & parents who are thinking about sending their offspring on the same "Trip of a Lifetime". =^,^=


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