I think I’ve outgrown my parents.

As I’ve grown up, we’ve grown apart. I no longer need them to pack my lunch or brush my hair; we rarely connect anymore. It may seem sad from an outsider’s view, but

the truth is, I’m secretly loving it.

I’m happy to be the independent kid I’ve become, and I’m happy for them to keep out of my way. That’s not to say I don’t miss a good home-cooked dinner, but this distance I’ve noticed- I think it was an inevitable change for the better.

Growing up, nearly all kids are ruled by their parents. They decide when we go to bed, what movies we can and can’t watch, what school we go to and what we wear. It makes sense when we’re kids- they’re in charge of our lives because there’s no way we can do it on our own. In the process of raising us they determine our habits, priorities, beliefs and ultimately- who we are.

Of course, they’re just trying to steer us in the best direction. Sometimes though, as we get a bit older, we realise that the direction they’re steering us in isn’t always the way we want to go.

As you move towards the end of your teen years, you’ll notice more and more of the power being shifted into your hands. Your first job, first car, first girlfriend or boyfriend (or whatever you’re in to); these milestones are a huge avenue for freedom. For the first time you will have space to breathe and explore and find your feet on your own.

At times, it’s terrifying.

Sometimes, you won’t know how to handle all this responsibility (but trust me, you will learn). Sometimes it means relying more on your core values and sometimes it means abandoning some of your family beliefs. You’ll start to ask your own questions: do I want to go to church every week, or just on Christmas and Easter? Do I want to drink at my best friends party or stay sober? Do I want to get petrol down the road or wait until it’s cheaper? Do I want to go to bed now, or stay up until three in the morning watching Netflix?

It’s a pretty good change. Childhood you would be pumped by the idea of no eight o’clock curfew! Embrace this time and learn to do you without Mum holding your hand. You finally have space to find your own beliefs and develop-this time is seriously valuable.

That being said, it’s okay to still feel like you need your ‘rents.

Every now and then we need a shoulder to cry on, somebody to rant to, a helping hand when our mud house diorama is just not working out. During our youth, parents act as an in-built support system for tough times like these. Without them you wouldn’t know how to navigate a lot of those unavoidable hardships. But they can’t be there forever and it’s only as you do grow apart from your parents, that you’ll realise how vital this support and mentorship is. Until now you couldn’t see how crucial your parents were to your wellbeing.

You’ll soon realise though, that there’s support in other places and you’ll turn to people you didn’t see before. My teachers stay back with me after class, my best friend’s parents take me out to breaky once a week and my neighbour always offers to drop me at school. There are so many people outside of the home that will help you out with this whole growing up and becoming an adult thing.

It’s not a bad thing to grow apart from your parents.

It’s weird and challenging and sometimes it can break your heart to feel so far away from the people who have been there for you your whole life. But it’s all a part of growing up, it’s normal and it’s a chance to explore your own life and do your own thing without your ‘rents looking over your shoulder all the time.

photo cred: leahpicariello | @leahpicariello