Ask Caroline

Caroline Manzo tackles questions on divorce, privacy, and even her son, Albie.

on May 30, 2011

Lisa from Buffalo, NY says: Caroline - I am the mom of a beautiful eighteen-year-old young woman. I am an Italian mom, and I have a very hard time letting her grow up and spread her wings. She is going off to college in the fall, and I know we (my husband and I) raised her well, but I worry all of the time. I often think, “Maybe I did too much for her.” I guess my question is how do I allow her to leave the nest, but yet hold on to her tight enough to keep her close? Between you and me, I would be happy if she stayed here forever! Ha-Ha!

Caroline says: I hear you loud and clear, Lisa, but we raise our children to let them go, don’t we?

I believe that the biggest disservice we could do as a parent is to do everything for your child. Let’s face it, we’re not going to live forever, and when we’re gone, how will they survive? Children need to stand on their own two feet and make decisions and deal with the consequences of those decisions. Making mistakes, falling down, and getting back up again only builds character and makes you stronger. I agree that you never want to see your child hurt or suffer, but unfortunately that’s the reality of life. So is sunshine and happiness. We need to roll with the punches take the good with the bad. As parents we will worry about our children until the day we die. I’m fifty years old and my parents still worry about me, that’s just the way it is. Like I said, roll with it.

Let your daughter go off to college and start this new chapter in her life. It’s a very exciting time for her, and you should share in her happiness and excitement. I’m not going to lie, it broke my heart when Albie went away to school, but I didn’t let my heavy heart become a burden on him. You’re allowed to have those feelings it’s natural!

The dynamic of your relationship is sure to change; have faith in the values and lessons that you’ve instilled in your daughter and give her the wings she needs to fly. After a while you’ll start to see your daughter change from a little girl into a healthy, balanced grown woman and there’s no greater feeling than that!