Our kid doesn’t understand what we have given him. He doesn’t understand that most kids don’t get second chances. You develop a reputation with your friends and neighbors and you get typecast.
Our kid gets a chance to reboot his image and his life over and over.
For the foreseeable future he gets to learn how to be the person he wants to be. He can reset who he is and he will not have any one to make fun of the fact he is changing his style or his behavior.
He can be a good boy for one month, then he can be a bad boy the next month.
The boy gets to move away from his mistakes and get a new chance every time we change parks.
Every time we do new things the boy is not always pumped about it. Why accept change when you can have stability?
We have slowly been working with our kid over the last 5 years to help him understand this lifestyle. We work with him daily to teach him to not rely on us, but to learn to develop himself into an adult who can support himself.
We make him do his own laundry. We make him help with dishes. We make him help cook something every week. We send him to the store by himself. We make him ask people for help.
We could give into his demands. It would be far easier to never let him help in the kitchen We would have way less fights.
We could just do his laundry. He wouldn’t be so angry when it was laundry day then.
We could drive him to the store. Then we wouldn’t have to worry about him getting lost or taking too long with his shopping trip.
We make the boy do all those things because we don’t want a wimpy kid. We want a kid who is not afraid travel and adventure. We want a kid who can cook and clean when he moves out of the house.
Children naturally physically turn into adults. Children need help so that they can emotionally turn into adults.
We sent the boy across the country to visit my sister this week. It was only his 3rd flight ever. We showed him maps of the airport, we wrote down on a cheat sheet all the info he needed. Every day for 2 weeks Tracy went over the process with the boy and made him practice talking to security guards and the airline workers.
You know what? The boy flew with a 2 hour layover in Chicago and he made it to his destination just fine.
The solo trips to the story to buy candy and snacks paid off. Understanding and learning how to talk to strangers taught him how to confirm he was standing in the correct gate. Learning how to control himself helped him be a great guest at my sisters (so far anyway!)
If you want your children to be emotionally and physically an adult when they turn 18 you have to start training them to be independent now. Understand the process is not easy for you and it is not easy for them.
Also understand that it is that pain and that inexperience that ultimately ends up giving them the confidence to be the person you raised them to be.