Difficult Decisions as a Parent


My co-worker’s son is joining the navy next week. It is heartbreaking, yet she is extremely proud of him for wanting to serve his country. As much as she doesn’t want him to leave- she knows it is in his best interest. Although it’s tough, she must let him go.

Today I dropped my son off at camp and he cried and begged me to not make him stay. He wept in my arms, his face flushed with tears and his body physically shaking. I had to make one of the hardest parenting decisions I’ve made in a long time. I had to get into the car and drive away, leaving him behind. My heart aching with sorrow. Why he didn’t want to go to camp is beyond me- but I knew that it is in his best interest to go. It’s basketball camp for heavens sake- he loves basketball, he’s trying out for team in the fall and needs the practice, so what I was doing was out of love- but it still hurt.

As a parent we have to make tough choices, we have to look beyond what is in front of us and make a decision knowing what is best for our loved one. Many of us find we are now in the position of caring for our elderly parents as well as our own children. Sometimes this requires that we have to make tough choices. We have to use tough love.

It reminds me of when my mom brought my grandmother to her new home, a lovely memory care community that could assist with her Alzheimer’s. My grandmother wept, begged and pleaded my mom to not leave. My mom’s heart broke and she cried the entire way home, yet she knew she was doing the right thing.  We knew that my grandmother’s disease had progressed where she wasn’t safe at home any longer.* It was a difficult choice, yet for the best.

To me, being able to make those difficult decisions- based out of love- is what makes me a good parent. So whether your loved one is joining the navy, or needs more care than you are able to provide, or even if you are just dropping your child off at summer camp- if in your heart you know it’s for the best- be proud of yourself for being strong enough to do what’s right.

If you have been in a similar situation, please take a minute to share your experiences. Talking with friends and getting support is so helpful. We can all feel comfort in knowing that we are not alone.

*For reasons why we didn’t hire in-home care, see my blog titled ‘Why We Provide In-home Care’.



4 thoughts on “Difficult Decisions as a Parent

  1. We recently had to make a decision when our neighbors wanted to take our two children camping in a remote location. We are not campers ourselves (though our kids would love it if we were!) and felt a little nervous about our kids being “off the grid” without us. It was a tough call, but at the end of the day, we knew it’d be a great experience for our kids, providing them with something we could not. They ended up having an amazing time and the bonus for us was a two nights of “couple time.”

  2. When our parents become unable to take care of themselves, we are faced with providing nursing care for them. If possible, we can make the decision to bring our parent or parents to live with us. This decision is huge and affects the entire family. If you decide to bring your parents home, be ready for many changes. Possibly, your parents do not want to leave their homes and come to live with you. Their resistance will cause problems but with time this should pass.

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