Alone time – we all need some degree of it. Even me, a card-carrying extrovert, gets a bit overwhelmed if I’m always interacting with others. When I have time to just exist, without input or involvement from others, I usually slow down, look inward and invariably self-reflect. I am also put in a position to be more independent in my choice making – which means I have no one to blame for the choices I make. I realize my choices impact my consequences, and if I don’t like the consequences of my actions, I need to make different choices.
This week I spoke with three mothers who approached me about the behavior problems of their adult children. I quickly realized these moms had the same affliction – being ever-present. Kids of all ages need independence and when we are always around to give our children advice, loan them money, or fix their problems, they don’t learn how to do these things for themselves. The more we intervene in their lives, the more they have someone other themselves (specifically, us) to blame for the outcome of their choices.
Our children will always need us in some form or fashion, but at times it takes our absence for them to make this discovery. I always thought this theme would make a great title for a country music song: “How can I miss you if you won’t ever go away?” My suggestion? Step away. Resist the urge to jump in and “help”. I believe, at times, the best intervention we can provide is to simply not intervene at all.