If you want your child to have a fair chance of making it in the world you’ll have to allow them to be more independent and, as ironic as it may seem, give them the tools and the freedom to do this.
I heard a sad-but-true story about a student’s scary start to University recently. The courier company had arrived and left all of his boxed-up possessions outside of the residence he’d joined. He phoned his Mom because the boxes were too heavy and he did not know how he was going to get them inside and up the stairs. In his mind, he had to call her because she’d always taken care of things like this for him and the only thing he could think to do was ask her for advice.The simple act of having to engage with strangers and ask for help to carry his boxes inside was “foreign” to him.
We experience similar issues at our campus when new students arrive at the residence at the start of each academic year. Beforehand, it’s the moms and dads who communicate with our campus and ask us what they need to bring etc. Our students are the ones who want to be chefs but it’s their mom who’s asking us what a safety shoe is and where they can buy it. On the day of checking in – mom and dad unload the car, bring the suitcases inside and literally do the unpacking. We have to ask the parents to leave so that the students can start to speak to one another and start the “real process” of settling into their new home and campus life.
To many of you, this may seem normal, and in some ways it is. The rise of the “millennial” generation has brought about new ways of thinking and indeed parenting too. We understand that many of our students’ parents are part of a growing movement towards a more liberal and loving approach. However, the best way to show your child love and prepare them for their adult lives is to help them gain the independence they need to thrive. Try these simple steps and help prepare them for their best lives!
- Involve your teen in decision-making: By asking your child for their thoughts and opinions you’re subtly encouraging them to start thinking for themselves and exploring possibilities on their own – a valuable skill.
- Fight the urge to “rescue” your teen or to fix everything: As a parent, it’s difficult to see your child in a challenging situation but giving them space to address their own challenges can be beneficial to them. This doesn’t mean leaving them to fend for themselves in extreme situations or never offering your guidance and wisdom, it simply means supervising as they learn to meet their own needs and solve their own problems. Does your child need clean clothes? Suggest they wash some, for example. Are they in trouble for something they’ve done wrong? Ask them how they intend to address it and offer feedback.
- Respect your own time and challenges, as well as those of your child: If large amounts of your time are spent cleaning up after your teen, who is old enough to do this themselves, would you consider ensuring they take on this responsibility? We’re not suggesting you overload your child with a huge amount of chores or tasks but do allow them to be responsible for themselves where they can. Through this responsible delegation, you can free up some of your own time and ensure they don’t end up with a burnt-out parent. This lends to the value of mutual respect.
- Join us next time for more practical tips on how to prepare your child for campus life and feel free to message us with any questions you have about the kind of personal transformation we teach at The Hurst Campus.