I'm Scared that My Child Will Grow Up Too Fast

The feeling that your child will grow up too fast can generate a lot of vertigo and nostalgia. How can you deal with this sensation?
I'm Scared that My Child Will Grow Up Too Fast
Sharon Capeluto

Written and verified by the psychologist Sharon Capeluto.

Last update: 15 April, 2023

I come across a photo from years or months ago and I just can’t believe it. I can’t understand how time passed so quickly. My memory takes me back to the first moment I held him in my arms and nostalgia abruptly blooms. He was so tiny, so innocent, so vulnerable, and powerful at the same time. It scares me that my child will grow up too fast.

I remember when he said his first word, it seems like just yesterday. I find the clothes he wore during his first days of life and I’m shocked to notice that today, just a few years later, that precious onesie won’t even fit on one foot.

When I was pregnant, everyone warned me to “enjoy every moment, because they grow up so fast,” and “take advantage of his childhood as much as you can because soon the time will come when he’ll tell you he’s leaving home.” While I’m not surprised to feel homesick for the passage of time, I never imagined it would be so intense.

Uninterrupted growth, a desire and a fear

A mother admiring her smiling baby.

It scares me to realize that my son not only seems to be growing up at the speed of light but also that he’ll never again be the innocent little creature he once was. I’m not asking for him not to grow up, of course not. Rather, it’s a feeling as contradictory as it is absurd: I fear my son’s growth, but at the same time, I want him to grow up with all my might.

I dream of seeing him big, responsible, kind, and independent. I’m excited to accompany him in the important decisions of his life. I’m deeply curious about the paths he’ll decide to take. What will his adult life be like? What will he enjoy doing? What will be his greatest fears?

I want to see him make mistakes and learn from them. I want to see him fall in love and suffer for love. I want him to have the courage to be whoever he wants to be. Even if his legs are shaky, I want him to dare to take risks. I would love for him to maintain his kindness, sense of humor, and transparency.

The point is that my son is growing up faster than I would like. And how angry I am that I can’t control the pace! I’m simply not ready for him to reject my hugs. Nor am I ready for him to no longer need my help reaching for the cookie jar, which today is only a few inches higher than he can reach. But, like it or not, he’s going to grow up. That time will come and I’ll enjoy a new bond with a teenager, a young adult, and then an adult.

Inevitable changes as a child grows up

What scares me most about growing up are the changes that come with it. As he gets older, his life transforms, as it does for all of us, of course. I remember myself at his age: although I keep my sensitive and dreamy essence, I’m a different person.

“We’re a species on a journey. We’re alive because we’re in movement”.

– Jorge Drexler –

At some point, he’ll replace chocolate milk with coffee, walks in the park with nights out with friends, and his Internet search history will change completely. Suddenly, he’ll stop delivering me his drawings with the cutest dedication I’ve ever received in my life: “I love you, Mom.” Eventually, the recipient of his love messages will be another.

He’ll feel differently, think differently, and choose from a different perspective. Simply put, he’ll look at the world through different eyes and act from his own point of view. Changes denote transition, but also learning. Desires change and so do needs. And what better than to be on the move to adapt our path?

An adult woman hugging her mother.

Enjoy the present moment

The clock is ticking. Time flies, and it’s common for parents to fear that their child will grow up too fast. And so far, no human being has found a way to pause time. Therefore, we should begin to accept this reality that completely exceeds us.

With gratitude and presence, I resolve to enjoy every moment. To hug my child more than usual. Have fun and be bored with him. To share talks, games, pains, and joys. To be present in the format in which he needs me. Our children are constantly growing up right before our eyes. So, better to squeeze every second of our shared existence than to fight a battle that’s already lost.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.