Christy, 23, is a freelance writer from Canada. She also works as editor-in-chief at Read Unwritten.
It’s not okay to be scared of life, but this is how I’ve been for a long time. For years, I didn’t know what was beyond the walls of the home that sheltered me. As soon as I got a taste of freedom, I couldn’t go back. Despite the fact that I’ve witnessed parts of life on my own now, you still try to pull me back. I need you to know what this does to me; I need you to know what you are doing to me by trying to hold me in your nest.
My parents are wonderful. I could brag for hours about how much they love and care for me, and I know this isn’t something everyone can say they have. I’m incredibly lucky. What I can’t say I’m lucky about is how protective they are. Despite how much my parents care about me, they are happiest when their children are constantly around them, and they definitely try their best to keep their children around them, too.
When I was growing up, it was mandatory to be at church on Sunday morning and to have a Sunday lunch after. Skipping this lunch was definitely not OK. Even as a 23-year-old woman, missing Sunday lunch is huge. As a student who doesn’t even live full-time in her parents house, not being at church and missing Sunday lunch is a big deal. For heaven’s sake, I live in a different city now!
Moving in with my boyfriend of 6 years was a major no-no, and trying to travel anywhere is a series of asking for permission and never receiving a real answer. I know what some of you are probably thinking: “Why ask?” Well, without being respectful and asking, my family would shun me, and a stonewall from your family is not something that ever feels good, even as a 23-year-old adult.
This is why I need to say this; why I need every other protective parent to understand what sheltering their children in their nest does to them. My parents didn’t trust me to go anywhere or to do anything, and because of this I was scared of life for a long time. There are so many things about the world that took me a long time to understand, and I always felt like I was behind everyone else in knowing them because my friends’ parents had given them the freedom to grow and learn and figure it all out.
For a long time, I didn’t get to figure life out; I was told how it would be. Once I started challenging everything my family taught me, I started to see things with an entirely new view. It’s so thrilling to relearn the whole world with my own perspective, not the perspective my family gave me.
For a long time, I was the kid missing out. I was the one who had to leave early, who wasn’t allowed to be at a friend’s for as long as everyone else because I had to be home for dinner with the family, the one who feared leaving the safety of home because I wasn’t sure what was out there. I was so dependent on my parents that I couldn’t function on my own. Children need to learn how to survive on their own so that when they do take the leap away from home they can thrive.
By holding me in your nest, you’re holding me back from all the wonderful experiences life has to offer. Kids need to learn and grow and find who they are as a person. I have absolutely no clue who I am most of the time because I’m so confused about the contradiction between who I was told to be and who I yearn to be. Kids need to make mistakes and learn. My parents did everything to make sure I avoided mistakes, but then, I didn’t get the chance to learn from what I did wrong.
Parents, let your kids grow and move on. Birds aren’t meant to stay in their nests forever. Once they fly away, they are gone. Us children are the same. Eventually, we feel like spreading our wings, so we need room to feel them out and take the leap. Don’t leave us fearing the leap. Help prepare us to fly away and get us excited for it. That’s what we need. Don’t let your children fear their independent lives because it’s hard to come back from being sheltered.
© 2018 Christy Maria