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AIBU to wonder how parents learn to live with worrying about their children?

(42 Posts)
adlertippa Tue 04-Jul-17 21:27:56

Hello all,

I'm laid in bed with my shiny new son asleep next to me, he's a week old and my first child. We've had a lovely first week but in quiet times I find myself daydreaming about the years ahead.

I'm suddenly acutely aware of everything I've put my own parents through in the last 15 or so years! I've done quite a bit of shoestring travelling including hitchiking and going off grid for weeks at a time. I've also chosen a stressful physical career that can be a bit exciting and I've done medical/aid work in some very dodgy places.

I don't regret any of it but hypocritically I'm looking at my tiny lad and kind of hoping he wants to be a landscape painter or a florist with no wanderlust!

Seriously though, I would love to hear from less-inexperienced parents about how you balance worrying about your kids with wanting them to live life and try new things. I can kind of see that maybe I just need to learn to live with a low level of worry, as the cost of loving someone so much. But does it get any easier? I've had a front row seat to plenty of worst-case-scenarios at work so keeping those fears in perspective is already quite a bit of work.

Thank you for reading smile

limon Tue 04-Jul-17 21:35:36

You have to learn to control your thoughts. You'll probably get used to it. I remeber feeling exactly the same. Its true that you never stop worrying but you do learn to rwcognise when your thoughts are getting out of control and you learn to keep them in check.

megletthesecond Tue 04-Jul-17 21:38:15

No idea I'm afraid. My eldest will be off to secondary next year and I often feel sick with worry and anxiety (I have form for this).

Purplepicnic Tue 04-Jul-17 21:40:37

No it doesn't get easier. The worry is always there but the things you worry about change so that's a novelty at least.

Why do you think we're all obsessed with wine and gin?

Isadora2007 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:41:47

Sorry. We don't ever stop worrying.

But. But we trust our children and our parenting. I love the quote
"As parents we owe our children these two things
The first are roots. The second, Wings."

I believe in the roots I give my children- unconditional love, acceptance, respect as a two way street from tiny age, empathy and kindness. And from these roots I help them to grow their wings and see their flight as success for us both.

It's heart rending and awesome at the same time. I am so very proud of my teens and awestruck that I produced such fabulous young people with their own values and views. Yes they make mistakes, but they know they can always come to me. I may not agree with what they do, but I will defend their right to do it and support them. even sometimes the illegal stuff

But do enjoy it... so many people tell you it goes so fast. Believe me, it does. And I would give anything to have just a day back in time when big ds (now nearly 20!) was around 5/6 and big dd (17) was 2/3 and we could just have a day of nothing much- park, stories, cuddles...

Gawd. I'm in tears now! Bloody pre-menopausal hormones!!!

adlertippa Tue 04-Jul-17 21:44:30

Ah bloody hell isadora I'm having a cry now too! I'll blame hormones and lack of sleep. Thank you for that quote, I'm going to write it down and put it up somewhere x

DixieNormas Tue 04-Jul-17 21:45:16

You try not to think too much about things!

My oldest got himself a motorbike recently, luckily he no longer lives at home though so while I knew he was riding it I didn't know when and blocked it out iyswim

We did pay half for a crash course in driving very soon after though grin

Eolian Tue 04-Jul-17 21:46:23

It gets a lot easier, honest. You get used to the responsibility and the worry and it becomes less and less all-consuming. It's not really normal to remain on high alert the whole time for very long (unless you have an anxiety disorder).

Plus you have to remember that as ypur child gets older you would be doing them a great disservice to hold him back and over-protect him. You learn to be excited and proud for them when they do independent things. And each time they safely succeed it gets a bit easier.

BertieBotts Tue 04-Jul-17 21:48:12

I think it does get easier in that you get used to it. It's natural to feel so protective over a newborn that you never even want to let them out of your sight but you do get to a point where you're okay with them going off and doing things even completely on their own. Though you never really escape those moments of panic that oh god - what if he's got run over on the way home or been mugged or fallen in the river - all things which you know are irrational and unlikely but they do happen to some people so they might happen to your child, and when that happens you don't really stop the panic until they are home safe.

Cleanermaidcook Tue 04-Jul-17 21:50:39

Someone once told me that the greatest gift you can give your child are wings and the courage to fly.
So you teach them independence, build them up, give them confidence and the knowledge that they're loved and can always come home and watch them fly.
It makes your heart burst with pride and equally makes you want to cover your eyes, cry and wrap them in your arms forever.
It's what being a parent is. xxx

corythatwas Tue 04-Jul-17 21:50:51

Congratulations, OP!!!

I think it does get easier- and I've been through some near misses. What makes it easier is gradually seeing your dc grow into capable, responsible human beings. Looking at them and realising that in many ways they are an awful lot more mature than I was at their age. That they live in an age which is very dangerous in some ways, but where young people are also more able to speak openly about dodgy situations, to each other, to other adults, to their parents, where they have been taught to recognise dodgy situations in a way that we were not, where help is available.

WhooooAmI24601 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:50:53

I think you learn to simply get past some of the anxiety. It doesn't go, it simply becomes manageable.

Letting things go in increments is my way of handling it; I do everything in small steps. I also think that as they grow, your love changes and evolves to allow them time, space, freedom and peace to leave your side whilst also loving them enough to always hold a door open for when they need to return.

DS1 is 11 and when he's away with school or scouts or even just on sleepovers a part of me feels like a little bit of my soul is away with him. The same for DS2 (though at 6 he is much more dependent on us still). I doubt that little bit of my soul will ever feel less 'missing' as they get older. They carry a bit of my heart in them everywhere they go.

adlertippa Tue 04-Jul-17 21:50:54

Eolian that's such solid advice. I don't feel unmanageably anxious, and I was pleasantly surprised by how laid back I felt while pregnant. I think I've just been so used to not worrying about anyone else that it's odd having a constant low level awareness of how precious someone is.

I did find myself getting protective of my DP during pregnancy too, I found him walking home at night through our stabby neighbourhood torturous so started making him get cabs.

TartanDMs Tue 04-Jul-17 21:51:28

My lad started work experience yesterday in my office, but with a different team. I worried he would be nervous, that he would hate it, that he would struggle to relate to the staff. He came home beaming, loved what he was doing, and had fitted in with the apprentices and graduate interns so well they invited him to the pub (so they obviously see him as a peer rather than a kid). I was projecting my own anxieties onto him and thinking he would have the reactions I would, but overlooked his happy and confident nature. You never stop worrying, unless you are really chilled, but as long as you don't let your anxiety stunt their growth or reduce their capacity to experience life, risk and adventure, you will be fine.

LittleLionMansMummy Tue 04-Jul-17 21:51:57

Congratulations on your beautiful baby boy op!

The worry doesn't go away. You worry about different things at different stages. If you go on and have another child you'll worry equally but differently. However you do become better at forcing dark thoughts back into their box. You learn to live with them. Occasionally when something tragic and awful happens, like the Manchester bombing or Grenfell, you'll have a little cry and the dark thoughts will return briefly. You empathise with other parents in a way you never really thought about before, but you get better at controlling your thoughts. You have to because a child deserves the right to a childhood free from anxiety, where they can experience new things with the sense of wonder and excitement only a child can. When they're eyeing up that enormous climbing tower you'll check their harness, take a deep breath and cheer them all the way to the top.

Chottie Tue 04-Jul-17 21:52:42

Congratulations on your new arrival smile

I can remember feeling bowed down with responsibility when DD was born (PFB). The first day DP went back to work after her birth, I suddenly thought that I had to keep DD alive all by myself for a whole day until DP got home again. But, I did it smile and we made it through the following years, until I suddenly realised I was the mother of an adult women.

Being loved and feeling secure are the key cornerstones to raising a confident, happy child. It is hard work, being a parent, but it is so rewarding. smile

adlertippa Tue 04-Jul-17 21:52:52

God I'm just having visions of myself aged 15 drinking alcopops in a dive bar and smoking horrible weed off a drinks can. This is karmic payback for being a little shit isn't it? Ha ha.

Thegiantofillinois Tue 04-Jul-17 21:54:21

It's school trip season. All i can think about is how small they are, how big tbe buses are, how dangerous the roads are and how it would feel to get that phone call. However, I will pretend to be as excited as t h e kids are.

implantsandaDyson Tue 04-Jul-17 21:54:22

Because you enjoy watching them spread their wings, getting older, learning new things, gaining in confidence. My eldest has recently turned 12 and has just finished her first year in secondary school, she had done so many new and exciting things over the past 18 months or so and watching her do them has been one of my favourite things about being a parent. I'd love her to travel, do her own thing, make herself happy - I'm excited about my kids growing up.

Girlsworld92 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:56:24

Ahhh don't panic. It's so hard. Just help them become kind, strong, sensible people and give them all the love and support they need and make sure they feel they can come to you about anything. Take each stage as it comes. The worry never goes but you learn to manage it. I am a big worrier too. Try to enjoy your new arrival. Sending hugs xx

InDubiousBattle Tue 04-Jul-17 21:56:53

My dc are almost 2 and 3.5 and the fear and worry still loom very large for me I'm afraid. It is easier than when they (ds, my first in particular) were tiny in that I no longer worry that they will just stop breathing but illness etc still worry me. I'm not sure the worry ever goes away. My nephew is just 18 and currently on a lads after a levels holiday. My sister is sick with worry. Once her eldest left a party pissed and didn't show up home until the morning (slept on a mates couch), she was actually sick when he wandered in hungover but fine. Safe to say I don't think the teenage years come without worry!

My dad started a conversation the other day with 'I'm a bit worried about your sister. .....'. She's 48 so I guess it doesn't ever really stop!

WhooooAmI24601 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:57:39

This is karmic payback for being a little shit isn't it?

Haha I rang my Mum once when DS2 was being a complete assgasket one evening at bedtime (he was a bit of a twat at bedtimes for a while, we used to read sleep-training books like they were going out of fashion, we'd have been better barricading his bedroom door with the books and leaving him to his batshit night time antics) and my Mum laughed down the phone at me and said 'Whooo, my darling, this is probably the only time in your whole life you'll ever see true karma. Your children are delinquents because the Gods of Sleep watched you being a delinquent and coming in at 5am on Thursdays after getting spangled with your mates. Just wait til he can drive and you've no idea where he is". She's a terrible parent.

CrowOnTheBroom Tue 04-Jul-17 21:58:03

Ah this is a lovely thread! My ds is 3 and I still feel very protective over him so I know how you feel OP.
A while ago I read someone describing parenthood as having a piece of your heart leave your body and start walking around, which kind of sums up how I feel.

PlymouthMaid1 Tue 04-Jul-17 21:58:52

It is quite terrifying having grown up kids who like doing exciting things. However, I guess it would be more frightening to have kids who didn't grasp life by the balls and live it. My youngest daughter has just told me she is going backpacking around Mexico this month, more grey hairs for me.

LellyMcKelly Tue 04-Jul-17 21:59:37

As they grow and you see them becoming more competent it becomes less of an issue. You learn to trust them. I'm keen to encourage mine to travel and take calculated risks. My own mum is a real worry wart and although I did get to do some travelling I think I curtailed it a little to reduce the impact on her (she would get really bad eczema flare ups, and insomnia etc. and I think her anxiety was quite hard on my dad). That said, the travelling, and having the opportunity to work abroad, did me the world of good. It gave me such confidence in other areas of my life. I want that for my kids.

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