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Andy Newton
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Published February 28, 2014

When you’re a parent, the years can seem to go by in blur. One minute your child can’t even hold his head up, and the next he’s packing his own lunch and riding off to soccer practice. Remember, as your son or daughter grows, it’s important to give them the space necessary to develop into healthy, well-adjusted, independent adults.

Fight the urge to be yet another obnoxious helicopter parent. Teach your child to learn on his own. Let him or her discover their own interests. And, whatever you do, do not smother your child with a feather pillow.

There may come moments in your child’s upbringing and early adolescence in which they seek to test their boundaries. Often, to a parent, this can appear as a sign of disrespect and possibly a challenge to authority. Your first instinct may be to stop this behavior. However, it is imperative, if not to encourage it, then at least to periodically turn a blind eye to the pattern. Your child is merely exploring himself and the world around him. Let him break the occasional rule, skin the occasional knee. Trust him with the power to discover right and wrong. Refrain from hindering his freedom of movement, particularly if you plan to do so with your hefty knees weighing down on his delicate, virgin lungs.

After all, as difficult as it can be to let go, if you decide to take that step back, you may find a new source of parental satisfaction: the incomparable joy of knowing you’ve released a thriving life into the world, the thrill of witnessing your sapling flower into a full, vibrant being; which, at the end of the day, surely beats whatever rush you get, as gratifying as it may be, from rescuing your child entirely and eternal from the myriad horrors and gloom the world has in store; that white hot electric charge up your spine, affirming and unabashedly perverse, when you grip that pristine pillow over his still face - your knuckles pale with strain - and feeling him suddenly stir from his innocent, unsuspecting slumber - the profound, trusting sleep of babes - his little feet kicking and flailing out of bewilderment and instinct, his diminutive frame thrashing with futility against the colossal, indomitable might of existence, until you sense the dim, wavering flame of his life force extinguish under the austere embrace of love’s lonely offices.

Without a doubt, we all just want to be the best parents we can.

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