Teen Yearning For Freedom

My daughter will be 18 in a few months. She is struggling to get through her senior year and graduate. I ache to see her struggle so much but this is life and even though I steer her in the right direction it is ultimately up to her to do the work. I feel I have always taught her to "own" her world. It's been hard at times because I want her to succeed so much that I'd like to do the
work for her. But I hold myself back. She recently acquired her drivers license. We bought her a used car. It was our way of pushing her into the real world. Having a car means getting a job. Getting a job means going to college. Which in turn means getting a better job to live an independent life as a productive human being. I push for all this. I know with her determinationthat she will become a very happy adult. So, umm, what's the problem. As a still young 17 she wants her freedom. And wants it bad. She can't wait to move out so she can do what she wants when she wants. It hurts to hear her say things like I can't wait to move. When she calls me over protective when I tell her I want to know who she's with where she's going and how she's getting home and when. She complains she is a responsible teen. And I'll agree with her and say yup and I'm a responsible parent. She desperately wants to be on her own. I need to show her the path the steps that lead to freedom. And it's not easy to know how much to give. As the mother of an only child I don't know how much to give her as she reaches new milestones in her life. We don't argue about stuff like curfews. But we don't agree either. I just don't know the answers so I fudge it. But I also ask people what did you do. I gather ammunition for her and for me. Cause it's nice to know what we're both going through is totally normal. Scared? Yeah. I'm terrified to let her go as much as I say I want her to reach a new chapter in her life. I suffer from PTSD anxiety and depression. This crap interferes with how I see the world and my reactions to it. My thoughts often turn black. It's hard sometimes to separate things in my head. So to say to my daughter sure you can drive to the concert is a statement I can honestly be ok with. But the other part of my mind envisions horrible things so I try to alleviate it by telling her to call me when she is on her way home. Not much to ask. Hell.... I'm a parent. And for now I won't sleep until I hear the door open. I know it takes time to adjust to changes in life. Been there done that. Funny thing is I am a person who is incapable of "acceptance" yet I accept the fact that my baby is all growed up. Despite my being an active alcoholic for three lost years of my life during a time when I wasn't really there for my daughter, we have a pretty awesome relationship. Maybe that's what makes it easier to let go. I miss the mommy and me times. Yes I do But I look back and recognize all the steps we have both climbed for her and me to get from point A to point B and I'm awfully proud of the person she has become. She knows I'll always be there for her and that she will always be my baby.
ilove2tri ilove2tri
51-55, F
2 Responses Mar 17, 2013

I feel this way about my kids as well. My daughter has always been very responsible, i joke that she was born óld'. My son on the other hand, has struggled in life for years, he's almost 19, but as long as he's in my house especially, i'm going to worry about where he is, who he's with etc..etc...this only means we care and love our children...they'll understand some day :)

Thanks for your kind words. Today my daughter is 18. We're having our struggles but I keep hearing they're normal. Man, sometimes this job as a parent sucks. Its the only job that doesn't come with instructions. And having had only one child, you feel as if you have to get everything right the first time. But today she's a legal adult.... Only in the eyes of the law. She still needs to learn a lot before she's capable of flying on her own. If it takes her leaving home than so be it. I will always have her back. Forever and always she'll be my little "stinky".

You are awesome. Against all the odds (alcoholism, PTSD, depression and anxiety) you are a wonderful mother. I love the part when your daughter said she's a responsible teen and you agreed and told her you are a responsible parent. That is great ammunition all parents should carry with them. Yes, my friend one day she'll fly free, but you will stand straight and proud.