My classes for parenting the younger years of childhood seem to fill up quickly. I am thankful for this, and I understand and remember the desperation of not knowing what to do, and the anxiety of wondering if I am messing up my child. But there seems to be a God-given instinct in parents at this age. They grasp the fact that it is their job to stay closely connected to their child, to take them by the chubby little hand and guide them through each new skill and milestone. Parents seem to understand that their child is dependent upon them to learn the skills they need to thrive; walking, talking, using the potty, riding a bike, washing their hands, drinking from a big boy cup.
But then there is a shift. Those children get taller and form their own opinion and sprout hair in new places. Parents sense the change, and take a step back, sometimes wringing their hands and experiencing a whole new world of fears. On one hand this is appropriate and healthy, as kids get older they want and need more choices and control over their own lives. I think this is where a big part of the problem lies. Parents do not know HOW to step back. Without knowing how to do it, they will usually swing from one extreme to another. They either go almost completely hands off, or they hover and smother. Both come with hefty price tags.
This is where I come in. This is my favorite part. I get to help parents discover HOW to give their teens an age-appropriate and healthy amount of freedom and choice, while still seizing the opportunities to mentor them in the skills they will absolutely need to become independent, contributing members of adult society. What does that look like? To start with, every 18 year old should now how to fill out an application, balance an account, do a basic grocery shop, make a few healthy meals, and speak politely to a customer service rep when a question or problem arises. You would be surprised how many high school graduates do not know how to do these things. And these are just basic life skills! We haven't even touched problem solving, relational skills, goal setting, weighing options, etc.
See why I love teaching this class?