The Process of Raising an Adult: Part #2 – The Elementary Years
For the elementary school student, there are obviously still boundaries for their protection, but a parent can still be looking for more ways to put personal decision making into their training program. For example, choose to look at the “getting out of bed in the morning ordeal,” not as a nightmare but a training dream! Learning how to get up and be responsible in the morning is a huge part of independence. There are probably many college freshmen who secretly wish their parents spent more time on this area when they accidentally sleep through their 8am class.
Another area that a parent can start training more independent decision making for the older child, is chores. Chores teach responsibility as well as life skills. There is also financial decision making that comes along with allowance. Parents need begin to give their children the opportunity to make decisions on their own and then be there to hold them accountable and talk through the decision. Teaching saving and spending is a great way to do this. Even when there are decisions that you think are not the best, allow them to make them. Learn to “discuss and release” with the small things because obviously for safety sake there are a lot of decisions we can’t allow our children to make.
Allowing our child to fail is one of the hardest things to do as a parent but part of the process in training independence. Be there to support and train through the small mistakes!