Monday, 29 April 2013

The Parenting Files: Gradual Release Check

We're heading into some birthday weeks here.  That there are three of us close together makes me step back and take stock of where we're at.  That and a post from the lovely Frances about letting go just a little bit.  One of my children is nearing official adulthood.  We only have a year to finish preparing her for adult independence.  At the other end of the spectrum, a child who begins his teen years.  He has mastered the baking of one or two things independently and is working on cooking meals.  In between the two is the child who embodies balance between the two: courageous independence juxtaposed with needing reassurance from her parents.

It seems the whole of motherhood is a journey of preparing our children to fly.  To leave the nest with wings strong enough to carry them through the journeys ahead of them.  Our program of gradual release is well on target.  Driving lessons, cooking lessons, how-to-keep-your-room-clean lessons.  They're all under way.

It's easy to scaffold those practical things until children can perform tasks independently, but it's so much harder to figure out how and when to remove the supports that give our kids emotional stability and discipline.  It's hard to watch them suffer the consequences of their own decisions sometimes.  We're working on moving to a negotiation and advice model of parenting, rather than direct instruction.  Unless a cup of tea is involved and then there is still lots of direct instruction!  There's also direct instruction happening around the compulsory eating of school lunches which give a growing lad necessary brain fuel.  Like I say....what to push and what to step back on.  They're tough decisions.

How's your program of gradual release going?

1 comment:

Left-Handed Housewife said...

My program is going okay. I'm biting my tongue a lot. Asking about homework, but not demanding to check that it's done, etc. But, at the same time, still overstepping boundaries without meaning to. It takes practice to get this letting go thing right!