Happy New Year
I thought we’d start the year out by talking about what we can do to help our kids become capable. I was interested watching my five-year-old grandchildren do for themselves whatever they could and their parents patiently waited and watched.
These are youngsters who are already capable and will continue to be able to take on increasing amounts of self-care as they grow and mature.How often do you not only permit but encourage your child to do as much as he can for himself? When she does need help do you do it for her or show her how to do it for herself?If we want our kids to become capable young men and women it starts today.
Help Your Children to Become Capable.
Adam graduated from high school last year. During the school year he did his research and decided he wanted to carry on with his education. He checked out the places he could go to study and determined that he wanted to attend the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) in Calgary. He spoke with his parents about it and sent in his application. He also looked into student housing on the campus. He was accepted and in September, armed with maps and information, he headed off to begin his schooling. His parents saw him off at the airport, sad to see him go but excited for him in this next stage of his life.
Hunter also graduated from high school last year. He had no idea what he wanted to do next so he just carried on with classes. After he graduated he took some time to just relax and recover from high school. His parents encouraged him to continue his education. They checked out some local options, sent in applications and he was accepted to BCIT in a program his folks thought he would like. When he went to the school to register for his classes, his Mom went with him and did the actual course selection.He started school in September, his parents keep track of his schedule and drive him to his classes every day and pick him up at the end of the day.
What is the difference between these two young men? On the face of it, it’s obvious. But it actually started 18 years ago. When Adam, who went to SAIT, was trying to pull on his own pants, his Mom waited patiently while he struggled, was encouraging and gave the minimal amount of help needed. When Hunter was at the same stage his Mom told him he was too young and she dressed him. The same happened when it came time to get up in the morning. Once Adam was in school he had an alarm clock, knew how to use it and got himself up. Hunter’s Mom would call him to get up and finally go in and literally haul him out of bed.
Getting kids to be independent, capable young men and women doesn’t happen magically and doesn’t start when they are twelve or sixteen or when they graduate high school. It starts when they are toddlers. And it’s about a lot more than having kids take out the garbage.
The job of parenting is a process of letting go. We give our children the information and resources they need to become capable young men and women.
It starts when they are toddlers and we take the time to let them work to get their arms in their sweaters, and we allow them to feed themselves.
We invite them into the kitchen with us and teach them how to cook. It starts with the pre-schooler who rips the lettuce for the salad and puts the bread in the breadbasket. We all know that having a young child help cook meals is not the most efficient way to get a meal on the table. But, if we want them to learn how to cook, how to make good nutritional choices and how to plan and prepare a meal, we need to teach them.
When they need new school clothes we take them shopping, rather than going out on our own and choosing their wardrobe. We let them make choices and teach them that we can afford the t-shirts on one rack but not the other.
We involve them in choosing their extra-curricular activities so that one-day they can choose their post-secondary courses and eventually make a career choice.
Children don’t become capable naturally. It is learned, it is experienced and it is our job to help them become competent adults.
Bring Kathy to your Community
Do you want to hear more? Kathy is always happy to come and speak in your community, at you event or as a workplace wellness presentation. On her website you can find more information on her material.
My presentations will share a basic value that I call
P — is a parenting plan
U — is unconditional love
R — is respect for your child as he is right now
E — is encouragement
Digital Books Make Parenting Information More Accessible.
There are times when digital is the perfect answer and let’s face it, on a holiday having access to hundreds of books on one small tablet is ideal. I always have my kindle with me when I travel.
There are lots of times when a busy parent would like to be able to simply read and my books are digital and make it easier for you to take a look.
Two of my parenting books started as print versions but the third is only digital. The first two are also now in digital format. Who’s in Charge Anyway? talks about roots. It provides a clear road map for parent to focus on the tough but rewarding job of raising children to be responsible, self-disciplined adults.
But Nobody Told Me I’d Ever Have to Leave Home talks about raising children to become capable young men and women.
I am told the books are down to earth and common sense as well as easy to read. If you want some basic parenting tips and information these books are a good place to start.