HOW DO YOU LEAVE HOME IN THIS DAY AND AGE? OR DO YOU?
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NO RULES FOR LEAVING HOME WHY NOT?
Some day, I'll blog about the four phases of development and particularly how we continue to recycle through these phases over and over again in all aspects of our life. For now, we're going to look at child development.
When we are about three years old, we begin the "independent" phase of our childhood development. You will often hear children, ages three to six, say things like "I want to do it all by myself" or "I did it all by myself."
We can encourage them in their striving to be independent or we can halt them. So, for example, you show little Becky or Jamal how to tie his or her shoes. The next day they come to show you how well they tied them "all by myself." Chances are, it's not very pretty. BUT you have an extremely important decision at this moment. You can say, "My God, you call that tying your shoes? Here let me show you AGAIN how to do that." Or you can honor their learning process and their striving to be independent and say, "Wow! Look at that! You're learning to tie your shoes!"
They know when they haven't done a good job, and if our attitude is a coaching attitude in contrast to a critical one, they will ask us to show them again and again how to tie those darn shoes. And we will see the day-to-day improvement and skill development. But if we make fun of their efforts to be independent, they will stop approaching us and only learn to tie better and better knots!
During this same independent phase, children begin to mimic adult behavior. Yes, they do, and sometimes, it's pretty embarrassing. So when you take them to a family wedding, the following week, they will gather other neighborhood kids into the back yard, they might even dress up in adult clothes they find in the Goodwill Box, and put on their own wedding.
When you take them to the supermarket. upon returning home, they don't want you to put away the groceries. They want to play store.
It definitely gets a little nerve racking when you take them to a funeral. The following week, you're looking out the patio door and lo and behold, they're holding a graveside service out there. An instant panic comes over you as you try to guess who it is inside that hole and if they're really dead or just pretend dead! As much as you dislike that one nieghbor kids, you don't dislike him that much! Hopefully, it's just an ol stuffed animal
So this is the time that you begin having one of those "talks." Be sure you have plenty of gusto and animation in your voice. The conversation will start like this.
"You know what? Some day, you're going to be eighteen. You're going to have a job, and earn money. You're going to have your own place, and we're going to come over for dinner. It's going to be so cool!"
And you keep saying it over and over again until you are actually going to their house for dinner!
Unfortunately, we say something quite different. "You'll see how hard it is out there. You think flippin burgers is going to earn you enough to live on? Well, you're in for a rude awakening. You'll be crawling home and begging for mercy."
What is that all about? What? We want them living with us for the rest of our lives? I mean it's okay, I mean they do that in many cultures, but I know I am looking forward to the day that there are no children or adult children living here and we can have the house to ourselves!
My humble opinion is to make leaving home a celebration. Let's make it a very good thing, not something that scares the livin' daylights out of them. And we want to build into them the sense and belief that they can be successful ON THEIR OWN.
What is our need to put them down and convince them that they can't make it without us? Why do we infantilize them?
And don't EVEN blame it on the economy. There are plenty of ways for young people to be independent or interdependent with a peer group, living on their own and being successful, instead of living at home, not helping out, you being angry with them all the time because they're not helping out, coming and going at all hours of the day and night, eating you out of house and home, throwing wild parties while you're on vacation, you paying for their cell phone bill, their car payment and car insurance. We are teaching them NOTHING.
In our American society today, there are no rules for children to leave home. You can leave home if you go away to college, join the military, get married, act so crazy that you are asked to leave or kicked out, but no rules that encourage you toward that moment of celebration, of being emancipated, of doing it all by yourself,
My humble opinion is that we need to change that. And even if your kid is 55, it's not to late! It's only too late when you're dead!! And they won't know what to do with you either. They'll just prop you up in the easy chair and continue to take money out of your wallet!!!
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