Gradually, freedom for the children creates a new looseness in the parents, though. And as one increases, the other does too. When a parent hits a hard spot, where they feel jealousy and resentment, it's often a sign that there's a painful childhood memory that hasn't been laid out to dry yet.
When we're tempted to say "no," and we have that little internal conversation about "Why not?" that can be healing. When I'm there, I think of my mom saying no, and then I picture her having been open enough to say yes more, and I picture my childhood self having a thrill of freedom and approval. There was some freedom, and some approval, but I can imagine up a lot more of it, and shower it on my children.
Sometimes I picture my granny telling my imagined young-girl mom "Yes" a lot too, and I think maybe if my mom had had more freedom she would have more to spread around. And I hope my children will not have to think so hard when they say yes to their children.
Others have mentioned feeling lighter and less bound by "have to." It doesn't seem to matter whether they start with "educational" issues or general parenting issues, it all builds together. All the relationships get better.
photo by Sandra Dodd (hot-tub stove, open)