“A man found a cocoon of a butterfly, that he brought home. One day a small opening appeared in the cocoon. He sat and watched the cocoon for several hours as the butterfly struggled to force its body through that little hole. Then it seemed to stop making progress. It appeared as if the butterfly had gotten as far as it could, and it could go no further. The man decided to help the butterfly in it’s struggle. He took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon…and the butterfly emerged easily.
As the butterfly emerged, the man was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body which would contract and the butterfly would be able to fly.
But neither happened!
In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly.
What the man, in his kindness and haste, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle were required for the butterfly to be able to fly. The butterfly must push its way through the tiny opening to force the fluid from its body and wings. Only by struggling through the opening, can the butterfly’s wings be ready for flight once it emerges from the cocoon.
Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were allowed us to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been.
And we could never fly.” – Author Unknown.
As parents, it is challenging to see our sons and daughters struggling. Especially if we have some unresolved anxiety of our own. But do you remember making your own mistakes? Several of those times, you may even have had the prodding (perhaps persistent!) of a parent to ‘do it the right way’ but you went ahead with it anyway. More often than not, teens need to learn to make their own mistake. More often than not, they will be perfectly safe when doing so. Not letting teens wander beyond their current comfort zone to try something new is not only annoying to them, it’s detrimental to their growth.
Think back to all the things you did as a young adult compared with the situations you are observing your teen face. Why do the same or even much more harmless tasks give you the jitters?
From her blog post What Is A Helicopter Mama To Do?, life coach Jamee Tenzer shares:
“The internet and other technological revolutions have given teenagers more opportunities to make big mistakes but less freedom to make the kind of small mistakes needed to grow up.”
Dr. Peggy Drexler, psychologist and author of Our Fathers, Ourselves: Daughters, Fathers, and the Changing American Family (Rodale, May 2011) shares some tips:
- Aim to be reliable, but non interfering.
- Involve him in the decision-making.
- Let her solve her own problems.