Helping your child into adulthood
Exciting times are ahead for your child: the end of their school career is in sight; they can barely wait to get their driver’s license and before you know it, they’ll be able to drink legally. This is a hugely significant time in your child’s life, and it’s hardly surprising they may be taking strain as they tread the tricky path to early adulthood.
What can you do as a parent do to make this a smooth a transition as possible?
Godfrey Madanhire is a professional motivational speaker, life coach and former teacher who specialises in helping parents guide their children during this time. Here he provides practical advice to help parents manage this phase in their teenager’s life:
Teach them responsibility
As a caring parent you may find it hard to let go – you’re used to being in charge of your child’s life, but now is the time to give them a taste of independence and, most importantly, the chance to take responsibility. For example, if they get an allowance, set a strict limit on it and if they overspend, resist the urge to bail them out. And as much as you may want to, stop coming to the rescue when they forget to do their laundry – the sooner you do this, the sooner they’ll learn to plan ahead.
Provide solutions where you can
While your child may be planning to leave home soon, they’ll still need to rely on you for your advice as a parent. Possibly help them earn extra money by providing them with odd jobs here and there, but be mindful not to let them stay dependent on you. Growing up is not a destination – it’s a process, it takes time and you are there to guide them through it.
Help your child get organized, but let go
Over the years you may have constantly nagged your child about getting homework done or not being late for extra murals, but now it’s up to them. If their organisational skills are not up to scratch, point out that you won’t be there to nag them. They need to develop systems for themselves. Provide them with practical guidance too – a good example is to help them create a study schedule for their final exams.
Often the problem with children entering adulthood is having to choose which path to follow the next year. Keep talking to your child about their interests and what fields of study are available to them; help them gather as much information as possible from educational institutions and possibly even visit campuses to get a feel for them. Some youngsters may need a gap year before they’re able to decide on a path, and if you’re able to afford this financially, suggest they sign up for few short courses to get an idea of what they enjoy doing and expand their skills set.
Let them make mistakes
Life lessons sometimes need to be taught the hard way. This may seem counter-intuitive and difficult to do as a parent; but standing back and letting things unravel is very often the best course of action. Use your common sense regarding when to take a back seat and when to intervene – obviously if the problem looks like it could be severely damaging or costly you may need to step in earlier.
For any parent, seeing your child leave the security of home for the first time can be a very emotional experience, but if you’ve been a loving, caring and involved parent you’ve laid a solid foundation and equipped them with everything they need for a bright future.
Article By : Godfrey Madanhire