Nov 12, 2012

When do you let go?

I am struggling with the concept that my one and only son is growing up. 
Recently we celebrated his 12th birthday and while I acknowledge that yes, he is becoming a teenager, he is still my little boy. Having gone through all the heartbreak of failed IVF treatments, I guess I am being a little clingy to the only child I will ever have given life to. You can understand that..can't you? 
He has been bugging us lately, asking if he can go for a walk on his own down to the beach. The beach which is probably a three minute walk away, but to a mothers eyes, miles and miles. I am not paranoid in thinking that anything could happen while he was down there without one of us to watch over him. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those mothers that wraps their child in cotton wool and never lets them do anything. He does have a lot of freedom. It's just that the beach opens up of whole new protective feeling in me that I do not really know what to do with. Should I let him go and stand on the balcony fretting until I see him walking back up the street? Or secretly follow him down there and keep out of sight ninja style? Or do I just refuse his requests? All kinds of thoughts enter my head when I think of him down there, alone. There are nasty people out there who would see my son as a easy target. 
I think about the parents of Daniel Newcomb, a boy who disappeared in this area and was never heard of again until recently when his murderer was caught and showed police where he buried the boy. He was nothing but a pile of bones by then. He was 14, my son is only 12. And even though he knows karate, he is kinda puny. I'm his mother, I'm allowed to say
 Apart from my fear of him being taken, he does have Aspergers, no road sense at all, I mean...a dog has more road sense than him. And he walks around completely oblivious of his surroundings at times. I know he is getting older and frustrated at what he sees as me being over protective, but I just don't think he is ready. My Husband thinks he is. Maybe I am being a wee over protective, but in this day and age, sadly, I think I am justified.
So when is it the right time to let go?


  1. This must be so hard for you. Is it possible you could gift him a wristwatch that has a tracking device, maybe one he wouldn't even know about? That way you could protect his pride and still keep tabs on him.

  2. He wants more freedom like all kids do. Secretly though, I suspect he wants some guidance too. So maybe consider practicing him being on his own with small distances first? He might say it's lame but secretly he may be relieved and this will give him (and you) time to practice? Just an idea.

  3. I second dbs' suggestion. Freedom in baby steps.

  4. I remember how hard it is to start letting them have more freedom and independance. Even now, I still fret when my 18 yr old is late home.
    Does he have a phone? I would make my kids text me when they got home from school if I was at work. And although we never stop worrying, we do have to remember that they will eventually grow up whether we want them to or not, we just have to trust that the lessons we teach them have stuck

  5. man, i'm not ready for that part of parenting at all. my daughter is 10 and i know those days are coming, but i think, like you, that parenting an aspie child makes it all even more complicated. they tend to be less mature. on the other hand, they're usually really good at following rules, so maybe if you work really hard at getting the rules solidly into his head, he'll be trustworthy to follow them, even when you're not watching.

  6. Any good parent knows; you NEVER let go.;)

  7. Wow, such a tough decision! I honestly have no clue what to tell you in this situation, although I also think dbs is on the money. Having no kids myself, I can only remember when I was in your son's shoes. And, mind you, I grew up in one of the most dangerous counties in all of the U.S. But, yes, around that age my guardian began to allow me more and more freedom. At first it was just to to the park across the street where I would play baseball with my friends. Then it was to the public pool half a kilometer away. Around this time my brother and I were traveling to and from school on public transportation as well, so I'm sure this had a lot to do with my increasing freedom.

    But, yes, boys at that age do need to be let out on a longer and longer leash. You'll never be able to protect them completely from the big bad scaries out there in the world. No matter how old they are. Best you can do is take it slowly and prepare them as best you can.

    Good luck, Sprite! *hugs*

  8. Thanks for all your suggestions guys. It is a little harder with my son, given that I have home schooled him for a few years now and he doesn't really have friends to speak of. He needs that social interaction, it's just hard. We are actually thinking of putting him into a mainstream school next year, see how he goes with that.

  9. The secret is to have velvet ropes rather than steel chains. If the bonds appear too strong he will inevitably make it his mission to break them.


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