Safety is always at the forefront of our mind when it comes to our children. Our natural response is to protect our children from harm, but we have to be careful not to overprotect them. It is important that children gain increasing levels of independence in order to lead fulfilling adult lives. Encouraging a small level of independence from a young age, and recognising when to increase this level of independence is vital for your son to develop necessary life skills.
Here are four tips for encouraging your son to be independent:
1. Give him responsibility over his routine
Helping and trusting your son to manage his own time is a vital life skill, and one your son needs to develop for his adult life. In early adolescence, boys can start by learning to manage their own morning routines: setting their own alarms, preparing a healthy breakfast for themselves, getting dressed and being ready on time. Packing his bag the night before is a task your son can easily accomplish. Ensure he wears a watch and learns the importance of being on time, and being accountable for himself. Help your son realise that handing in school projects on time and knowing when soccer training starts are his responsibilities. You can also begin to increase your son’s responsibilities around the house.
2. Let him make decisions and solve problems
Children need to develop self-help skills and a level of self-sufficiency. You can assist your son in developing decision-making and problem-solving skills by talking things through with him. Discuss options with your son and what consequences may arise from his choices. Allow him to come to conclusions on his own, and discuss the impacts with him. Resist the urge to step in and ‘handle’ the situation or resolve your son’s problems for him.
3. Allow him to make mistakes
Making mistakes is normal, and something your son will need to experience in order to learn. Making mistakes will allow your son to build resilience and look for ways to avoid making the same mistake again. If your son makes a mistake, you can assist by calmly discussing how the consequences of his actions made him feel and talk through other ways the situation could have been better handled.
4. Give him space and support
Giving your son the space to make his own decisions and mistakes will allow him to learn, to grow and develop competency to flourish on his own. It is possible to still support your son through this process while giving him the space he needs. Foster open lines of communication without judgement to encourage your son to talk through his problems with you. Knowing he has your love and support will allow your son to explore the world around him and develop his confidence and sense of self.
At Trinity Grammar School, we have been educating boys from Pre-Kindergarten to Year 12 for over a century. We are committed to supporting your son as he develops by actively encouraging him to grow in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man, so he may become a responsible, contributing member of society.
Trinity's Life Skills Programme is part of a whole School approach to pastoral care, health and wellbeing. In conjunction with the development of ethical, moral and religious values, its goal is to enhance boys’ capacity to be emotionally resilient and socially competent. For information about our programme for Year 10 students, download our Year 10 Life Skills Programme guide.