When my children were babies, I will admit that I sometimes found it tough. The constant round of changing nappies, washing and feeding combined with lack of sleep and limited free time, meant that I often looked forward to the future when they would be more independent.
Now that they are older and able to go out on their own, I have different concerns, from reckless drivers to paedophiles, not to mention alcohol, drugs and (in the case of my teenage daughters) boys! I now realise that whatever their age, the worry never ends. Being a parent means that you are destined to be anxious for the rest of your life.
I still want to keep them safe but I also recognise the fact they also need to go out in the world, experience life for themselves and make their own mistakes.
There is no short circuit or quick fix. And no amount of trying to instil in them what you have learned in life is going to help. As parents, we can advise them but they have to work things out for themselves.
Sometimes, this hurts. You, as much as them. None of us wants to see our children go down the wrong path or make bad decisions but sometimes all we can do is stand by and let them find out for themselves. And be on hand to pick up the pieces when things do go wrong of course!
My eldest daughter has caused us many sleepless nights already and I am sure that she, and her siblings, will continue to do so.
But I am a great believer that given the right upbringing and influences, no matter how far they stray off the path, they will find the right way eventually.
So, whilst it is difficult to send the children you have nurtured and cared for off into the unknown, you have to let them go.
And if we have done our job well, hopefully they will come back. Stronger, happier, more independent and capable people.