Hi Susan,
I really enjoyed your article and it resonated with me. I am an only parent to 2 boys aged nine and a soon to be thirteen year old. I agree with all of the gifts that you cited in your article. Their dad died 8 years ago. My older son tries to guide his brother and be responsible and helpful. He is very good with that and he is a huge help and I tell him so. I worry that he is doing it as the expense of his youth. I worry about how they will learn about spousal interaction if they are not exposed to it. Further, my mother lives with us and she is a classic narcissist, and sometimes I see these traits in my older son and I end up lashing out at him due to my resentment. He is a very sensitive boy and becomes emotional and then I feel terrible when he was only trying to be helpful. Sometimes he acts more as an adult when he is only a pre-teen and I don't want him to feel any pressure to be anything different. How can I help foster his independence for himself and also accept his contributions to our family. I feel guilty. How can I change my behaviours and reactions. He is responsible and excels in school and is sociable. I also feel I allow him many freedoms. To me, he is still my young son, and I want to protect him and be his mom. I worry that he carries a lot for his age. Any insight you may have would be appreciated.