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A New Season of Parenting

by Mary Mazzoni on June 5, 2011

I admit it. My eyes well up when I hear the song  Sunrise Sunset, from Fiddler on the Roof.

“Is this the little girl I carried?  Is this the little boy at play?  I don’t remember growing older.  When did they?… Sunrise, Sunset…swiftly fly the years. One season following another. Laden with happiness and tears.”

Parenting flows like a river from one season to the next.  Suddenly, the beloved child I’ve nurtured and protected since birth, is at the threshold of adulthood.  It’s a new season.  Time to learn how to parent in new ways.

Whatever our teens’ disabilities may be, whatever supports they may need, adolescence is a new season. It’s a time for our kids to make more of their own choices, and practice speaking up for themselves. It’s time for them to discover their passions and their gifts, learn how to set their own goals, and make their own plans. A time for them to learn to deal with change, success, and disappointment.  Our kids need to experience what it means to be who they are in the larger world.

It’s a messy process!

Do you remember the euphoria and angst of your own adolescence?  One moment, ready to take on the world with the wind of freedom blowing through your hair.  The next moment, frozen in your tracks by anxiety and self-doubt.

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They are A-Changin’” resonated in a whole new way when my daughter entered the emotional rapids of adolescence.  As a teen I sang with gusto:  ”Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command!”  As a mom, I’m urged to: “not criticize what you don’t understand.”   Yes. The times they are a-changin’!

In this new season, we may find ourselves feeling scared, elated, frustrated, proud, confused, delighted. Often these feelings – and more – come all at the same time!

We’re on a journey.  None of us is alone. Please come back to Life After IEPs often during this new season of parenting.  My goal is to offer information, encouragement and support that will help you and your child enjoy the journey. I hope you add your voice to the conversation.


Photo Credit:  Zoovroo at Flickr

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