amber rahim

Chronic illness: the parts we don't talk about

The downside of bringing up independent kids


I have written before about bringing up kids who are independent, make their own decisions, are self sufficient. It’s a good thing. Yet sometimes it’s not.

As other MoBs (mothers of bartterskids) know, we are also teaching our children how to manage their illness. This can involve life or death decisions.

We know that one day we need to let go and let them make their own choices. They need to strike out on their own, solve their own problems and not involve us in the process. We hope that when that time comes, we have done enough that they know how to make good choices for themselves.

Yet humans do not always make good choices. It is always at the back of my mind that one day F will stop taking her meds. This terrifies me and the for the sake of keeping her well, alive even, I could violate her right to choose and force it on her. But that only works short term and legal independence comes at the age of 18 and what do I do then? Or what happens when I am gone? I want her to look after herself so that means she has to do it. So I need to let her make her own decisions.

So what if she does something stupid and ends up in hospital? What if she hurts herself?

I do not know what I will do but it is inevitable that both my children will make choices I don’t agree with, do things that I think (and know) will hurt them.

This dilemma that we face drives me nuts – we want them to be independent but we want them to do what we say!

What do we do?

Whether your child is ill and doesn’t take their medicine or is in trouble and doesn’t accept the help that is offered; or you think their friends are bad for them or you just want their jeans to actually cover their butts (both girls and boys), this is what I have realised:

These lives are not ours. We are only guardians. Only they are the kings and queens of their lives. And a King or Queen is an absolute ruler.

So I hope that by preparing them for independence and, when they are almost ready, letting go, that they will rule their kingdom wisely. And if they don’t, give me the compassion to forgive myself for letting them choose.

My second hope is this: that when they have tried it on their own, made mistakes, given us grey hair (ok, in my case, more grey hair) let’s pray that it doesn’t take too long for them to realise that it’s ok to seek advice, that they don’t have to do it all alone. All rulers need an advisor. Let’s pray that our act of letting go makes it easy for them to turn to us when they need us.

So I’m going to keep doing those little things to prepare both my girls; get them to tidy up their own toys, let F administer her own meds, let S brush her own teeth. Then as they get bigger, let them do bigger things.

I hope that when the time comes, I can let them go (without giving them a long list of instructions of what not to do).

Dedicated to my parents who brought me up to be smart and gave me the freedom to make my own choices. Some have been brilliant and some have been spectacularly stupid.  Thanks for praising the good and being there during the bad.

11 thoughts on “The downside of bringing up independent kids

  1. Amber. I am laying down something I rarely ket myself do. I don’t have enough potassium in me to have muscles right now to hold me up!!!
    As I read this I am so awed by you and am adding prayers that F and S will want to take care of themselves. F will want to take her meds and will know that by doing so gives her more independence. I had not even thought of these places of worry.
    You have written this beautifully sprinkled with humour and always so honest and humble.
    I think of you involving them with cooking etc so F has more choices and has fun doing that. I know you will come up with ideas on the meds.

    Lots of love. Sonja

    • Sonja, I do hope I do enough and I do hope that whatever rebellion she wants to go through is quick and not to painful.
      Listen to you though, casually talking about lying down. Do you even know how heart breaking it is to know that you are this unwell? hugs to you and wishing for stable potassium levels for you – and obviously above 3.5! keeping them stable at this low level would just be pants.

      • Sweetie. Thank you. Tears in my eyes. Thank you for your love dear one. The girls and you both are so in my heart and prayers

  2. Hi Amber, thanks for sharing.
    I recognize every bit of it. Always balancing between what you think is best and what your child thinks is best. I’m sure your being aware is half the work. She’ll know by ‘reading’ your attitude that you’re coaching and not demanding. You brave mother!
    Here’s a great song by a group of brave mothers too, Sweet honey in the rock. It’s called ‘on Children’ a poem by Khalil Gibran. I sung it for years with the group i was in.

  3. It is very hard to let them go out into the big wide world all by themselves, but so far (knock on wood) I think I did a better job than I once thought. I’ve got 4 and the youngest is 18 and a senior in high school. Now, he’s the one that scares me. He’s a little dare devil, but so far we’ve all survived. I’m actually really proud of all 4 of my children. I guess, I owe myself a pat on the back. Thanks for sharing this wonderful and oh so true post. I hope all is well with you and your family. Keep the great posts coming.:)

    • You do deserve a pay on the back.
      The last one’s a dare devil huh? Sounds like my little S. They all find some way to scare us don’t they.

      • Yes, they do. That son of mine has no fear and he never has, now that is scary, but like you said, we do the best we can and hope for the best. We have to let them go, as they aren’t ours to keep. He’s a really good kid, just a dare devil. It’s harder to let the girls go just because you know how this crazy world we live in is, but it does get easier with each child. My two girls are the oldest and then the 2 boys. I used to worry a lot about the girls, wondering if they made it home each night and such, but over time and worrying myself sick, I’ve learned that there’s nothing I can do, but pray. Worrying over things we have no control over can drive us crazy, so I learned to let go. Not easy, but it can be done. I think it’s only natural to worry a bit at first, but over time we have to stop it and carry on with our own lives. I have enough other things to worry about, of which I need to stop, as well. LOL Hope you’re having a great day, my friend.:)

      • It’s cold but the sun is shining. I’m taking a break and enjoying Dr Seuss quotes. Here’s one for you
        “you’re in pretty good shape for the shape you are in”.
        I think this sums us up pretty well.

      • Hi Amber, I remember the good ole Dr. Suess days with my kids. Think we had every Dr. Suess book ever written. Like the quote and yes, I believe you are right, it does sum us up pretty well. Have a great day, my friend.:)

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