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When Do We Let Kids Fight Their Own Battles?

It is only the second week of school and already we have dealt with massive homework meltdowns, inability to sleep (followed by inability to get up the next morning), drama with friends, drama with sports, and the other inevitable molehills-made-mountains that accompany raising two sons. Sometimes, especially as my boys grow up, they need mom to back off and let them handle the obstacles that come their way.

The inevitable mom wars

One of my sons recently shared with me that two of his closest buddies made less than kind remarks to him one afternoon while playing together at recess. Was it bullying? Who was at fault? Did my kid do something to incite the boys or were they just being mean? All the familiar scenarios parents know far too well started playing on repeat in my over-active mother’s mind.

My kid was the victim here but tomorrow he could be the culprit. I am not naïve enough to think he will never be at fault.

I would be lying if I said I was not primed at the pump and ready to pick a fight with these kids, or their parents, that very same day. This very real and raw experience defines for me what may possibly be the toughest part of parenting. Knowing when to step back and let your kids fight their own battles versus when to step up and loudly declare Mom War.

The older my sons get, the less they want mom interfering with their relationships, school events, daily struggles, and those inevitable storms that befall every child as a rite of passage into adulthood.

Moms, step away

My very type-A, obsessive, neurotic, controlling nature shouts at me to step in, handle things, protect my children with every fiber of my being. My rational angel-on-the-opposite-shoulder softly whispers, ‘Calm Down, Momma…This Too Shall Pass’. He must learn to maneuver life on his own without mommy always coming to the rescue. She further warns, ‘you will cripple him by not allowing him to handle strife; which by the way, often breeds incredibly powerful and adept leaders’.

As mothers, we cannot always be stepping into our kids’ lives to solve their problems. They will never learn how to maneuver their way through life, if we do. There is a very fine line of course, especially when your kids are young and need you as mama bear. But where is that line? That is where only the spirit of motherhood can truly guide us toward adequate protection of our children. Whether hands on, or from a watchful, ready to strike at any moment, safe distance.

I have decided that motherhood is quite possibly the only job where the boss seems less capable than those in which she leads. But don’t tell my kids that. Not yet at least.

How do you decide as a mother when to step in and when to let your kids handle difficult situations on their own?

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