Gary's blog for couples and parents plus resources for individuals, leaders and churches.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

When Kids Think They're Ready For Adulthood

Ryan was a junior in high school. Worked for decent grades, rarely got in trouble and was well liked. However, at home he was starting to push harder on his parents to have more freedom, to be more independent. He had begun asking that the curfew be taken away, that he be able to make even more of his decisions without parental advisement and that he not have to always let mom and dad know where he was.

Of course his parents were leery of giving him that much freedom even though they knew that soon he would have to be given all the freedom he was desiring and more.

It's important to understand that Ryan was actually being normal and when it's all said and done seeking a good thing - adulthood. The challenge is how to let our children begin to swim in that pool without just throwing them in.

The wise parent will try to do a couple of things.  First of all, give your children some gradual addition of freedoms and responsibilities. Especially as they move through high school begin to introduce some ways that they can feel a bit more adult. Perhaps instead of removing the curfew you can just extend it a little more. When it comes time to buying clothes you might give them so much money to spend themselves and see how much they can purchase for that amount. It's a great time to teach them some of your favorite getting a bargain tricks.

Second, be sure they understand that becoming an adult has responsibilities with it. For example, if they think they're old enough to work and get a part-time job, let them contribute something to help with the household expenses. Of course it may not be much but they'll learn that freedom isn't really free in everyday life. Make sure that once they're making money (or having their allowance increased) that they need to also save a certain portion.

Third, expect them to relate more and more to you like an adult.  Many kids do this pretty naturally but some will not. They can improve in their communication skills by being expected to stay and talk with you, share details, let you know when they will be there for meals, etc.  Healthy adults know what common courtesies are and your kids can learn those too.  If they want to have their room look the way they want it, fine, but then treat them like a resident.

That means they do all their own laundry, cleaning, etc. unless you agree upon a different arrangement.  You get the idea. We must teach our kids that being an adult is a good thing, but it also will take some real growing up on their part not just enjoying a free ride.
Gary Sinclair Writer | Speaker | Leader

Gary is currently a consultant, teacher, speaker and chaplain providing resources for families, leaders and churches.

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