Ask the Guides #1: The Role of Parents

(Yes, in case you were wondering, that IS a picture of me. You’re welcome.)


All-new feature on my blog—ASK THE GUIDES!


For a long time now, I’ve wanted to add an advice column feature to my blog, where people can submit general questions and I can share the Guides’ answers. To kick it off, I’m sharing a question about parenting I got from a client on Facebook. Thanks for the great question, M.C.!



M.C. asks:

“Most parents believe that they are to require total obedience from their children. That letting them decide what to eat or when to go to bed, for example, would rob them of a feeling of security and that they’d lack structure. And yet, it is my belief that children come to the world with their own innate knowing of what they need to do to be in balance. How can you respect a child’s freedom to express himself and experiment without making him/her do things he/she doesn’t want to do?”


The Guides respond:

The key point with children is to recognize them as souls who are separate and distinct from you. You have entered into a contract with them/their soul to be their parent, to take care of their basic needs, to care for them, to be with them for this part of their journey. That is all. In other words, you are free and they are free.

What do we mean by free?

We mean that you are not responsible for their souls or for their human path. You are not responsible for their choices. You are not responsible for Who They Are or who they will become—although most of you feel that you are. All you are responsible for is being responsible to them—caring for them and facilitating/easing their passage through this life as a child and young adult to the extent that you can and that you feel comfortable with.

Not controlling them. Not “influencing” them. Not trying to “mold” them. But being with them and around them and teaching them as appropriate. Setting limits as appropriate.

The key distinction here is intent. Have the intention to let them be free and to feel free yourself. Have the intention to see them as a soul on their journey, as you are, too.




Please share your comments and thoughts below, or on Facebook. I’d love to hear what you think!



  • Jen says:

    I love this. Half the time I totally get it, the other half I’m still molding. I read something once comparing our roles as parents to being a bus driver, responsible only for getting our child safely to the next stop.
    I think that’s important to try and internalize, especially when commiserating with other moms about how “we’ll worry about them until the day we die.”
    I’m not so sure that’s what I want.

  • Thea Sullivan says:

    Hi Jen!

    Thanks so much for reading, and for your comment. I love the bus driver metaphor. For me what really helps about this guidance is it focuses on intent, so even if I start getting way into the weeds of worry and control, I can step back and remember my intention, which is to be free and let my son be free. Also I agree about the worrying-until-we-die requirement. That doesn’t sound like much fun—or much help to them, either! I think that by trusting them—not naively, not blindly, but instead trusting that the path they’re on is by design, with ups and downs built in—we can get some measure of healthy detachment over time. I hope so, anyway! (:
    hanks again for reading and commenting! <3

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