Your children are out of their nappies, have learnt to read, are past the stage of the daily home reader, can pack their bags for school, make their own lunch each day. They monitor their own homework requirements (or say they do), disappear to school each day and return in the evening. They are in high school now, and so are more or less independent. But how independent are they really?
There is a struggle parents often have, and that’s the struggle to know when to let go, and when not to. We want our children to be grow and stand on their own feet. But on the other hand, we want to, and need to, keep the communication and support for our children open. We need to know what is going on in their lives, whether they are managing, and yes, whether they are actually completing homework requirements, remembering to take locker keys and diaries to school and the like. So there are times when we roll our eyes: you’re old enough! Get a grip on that, and other times when we lament the fact that we’ve been left out: you should have told me!
It’s the struggle of being involved. And the first question to ask is whether we are sufficiently involved with our children. We live in times where we are all busy, with a thousand things demanding our attention. Who decides where our attention actually goes? Are we intentional or reactive? Are we really tuned in to the needs of our growing teens? Are we allowing other things priority and so get the order incorrect?
The other day there was a young mother with a couple of little children in the playground; the kiddies were doing their bit on the toys and mum was doing hers with her eyes glued to her little screen. It was a picture of disconnect. And as much as this is obvious to us looking in, does the same picture apply when it comes to working with our teens?
That’s the question!
M Plug, Principal