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Letting Go Feels Like Giving Up. But Is It Really? By Fern Weis, Parent + Family Recovery Coach

Letting Go Feels Like Giving Up. But Is It Really? By Fern Weis, Parent + Family Recovery Coach, Bergen County Moms

I’ll give it to you straight, right here in the first line. Letting go isn’t giving up. It’s accepting that you cannot fix it (whatever or whoever ‘it’ is). It’s when you stop fighting with reality. The end.


Not really. You know I can’t leave it like that, and I already hear your questions:


How can I let go when my kid is doing poorly in school?

How can I let go when they’re spending so damn much time on the phone or gaming?

How can I let go when I don’t like their friends?

How can I let go when they’re so disrespectful?

How can I let go when they don’t live up to my hopes and expectations?


Let’s take a closer look. I’ll go first.


It’s a hard lesson to realize that I’m not the CEO of the universe; that I cannot change the person in front of me; that change begins with me.



Learning differences.

Broken dreams.

Off-track child.

Jobs I hated.

Ultimately, I had to adjust to a new reality and go from there. I could cry and rage (and did). Venting is useful; staying in that space is not.


So, when you ‘let go’, then what? How can you make it different from ‘giving up’?

1.     Examine the situation and ask, “What’s in my control? What’s not?” Be realistic.

2.     Remember that you make and enforce decisions about what goes on in your home and in your presence. Once they walk out the door, it’s out of your hands.

3.     If you’re having trouble with enforcement and consistency, examine the situation. Is it that important?      

a.     If yes, what other approach can you take?      

b.     If not, what would you focus on instead?


The bottom line is that something’s got to give and it’s probably going to be you. Talking to a wall just isn’t working, so why keep doing it?


Stop waiting for your child to step up and do the ‘right’ thing. The better thing. The thing you want because you know better and you had their life all planned out for them.


I’m still learning and growing. This is the work of a lifetime.


I’ve discovered that my dreams for my children may not be best for them. They have their own path and will figure it out, one way or another.


I know now that maintaining a loving, honest, and respectful relationship with them is more important than anything else. (Some days are better than others. That’s the way it goes.)


Trying to control them backfires, always. It erodes trust and connection, and I don’t get what I want anyway.


Over the years I’ve figured out what works better. I work on it, one day at a time, sometimes one hour at a time, depending upon what’s going on.


Letting go = accepting that you cannot fix everything.

Letting go = accepting the reality of a situation and your part in it.


It never means giving up. There is always another way, as long as you don’t insist on things going your way.


Your children are too precious for your ego to get in the way.


I am here to support you. All it takes is a message to get started.  (

Fern Weis is a certified life coach who learned that caring and good intentions are not enough in parenting. In fact, they are often the problem! Fern supports parents of teens and young adults who are going through difficult situations, including addiction recovery. She helps parents release guilt, end enabling and confidently prepare their children to thrive through life's challenges. Her articles are featured in Thrive Global, Medium, Motherly, The Teen Mentor, and Bergen County Moms.

Learn more about coaching and classes at And then download your free guide, "Five Powerful Steps to Get Your Teen to Talk." For information on Family Recovery programs, visit


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