Are you a holder, folder, grabber, or tosser?

I have been trying to turn over responsibility to my children for years, and mostly, I have been successful. But something about the teenage years really threw me! I could blame it on hormones from teens and menopause, but the reality is that I needed to let go of control.

When our children are younger, we can tell them what to do and expect them to do it. But as they get older, they want more control over their choices and actions. Then they turn 18, and we no longer have legal authority over them!

This process of turning over control during high school was bumpy in our home. I tried to turn over responsibility, but I kept grabbing it back when they didn't do what I thought they should do. I firmly believed they needed to experience the consequences of their actions in a safe environment at home, but I kept intervening.

It really damaged my relationship with my daughter during her junior year. There was way more friction and stress than there needed to be. During her senior year, I did better. A friend recommended a book that has been life-changing, Losing Control and Liking It: How to Set Your Teen (and Yourself) Free by Tim Sanford. The concepts in the book were not new; I had heard them all before. But something about the way Tim Sanford explained them helped it click.

Tim describes in the book how we operate from one of four quadrants: holders, folders, grabbers, or tossers. (Spoiler alert – We want to be holders and folders, not grabbers or tossers.) I realized that I was grabbing too much. I was taking responsibility for what was not mine to be responsible for. I started visualizing folding my hands in front of my chest so I could allow my daughter to learn to be responsible for herself.

Slowly, our relationship improved. She began coming to me again for advice and help thinking through problems, but it took a lot of work from both of us to rebuild our relationship. I am grateful that my friend recommended this book to me. I hope it helps you too!

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