Being a parent is essentially about preparing your children for life on their own. By the time they leave home we hope that they can cook at least three meals, get out of bed without someone yelling at them and remember to wear clean pants every day.
Luckily for us we get a few years to get this job as right as we can. When our kids are small the idea of them leaving home is heartbreaking. I struggled to adjust to my first child starting preschool but I couldn't wait for the second one to go!
Becoming independent is a huge part of them growing up. From learning to feed and dress themselves, the stages can feel bigger and bigger the older a child gets. My daughter will be 9 in around three weeks time and with that has come a definite change of attitude towards independence.
It is a new world and understanding it has been a challenge. For a while now we have given our daughter pocket money on the proviso that she completes her chores. Putting away her clothes, taking the bins and the recycling out etc. Having her own money is a big step towards independence. We try and foster an attitude that saving is good and if she wants to save for a specific thing I will often match what she saves as an incentive.
Beyond finances our daughter now wants to go out on her own. We're not talking 2 weeks in Benidorm but she is keen to go to the local shop unaccompanied. Fortunately we live in a small town where everyone knows each other so I am aware that if she had a problem she's never more than a few yards away from a friendly face. If we lived in a bigger town or city I'm not sure we'd have progressed this far at this age.
Because she doesn't have her own phone there are limits to where she can go alone. For example, she can walk home from school on her own as I know what time she finishes and how long the walk takes. I'm less keen on her walking to school as if anything happened I can't always rely on the school to call me.
There is a huge element of trust to all these changes, something my daughter brought up herself during one conversation. She asked me why I didn't trust her to go to school on her own and I explained that while I trust her implicitly it's other people that I have a problem with. I don't want to paint a horror story and we try and shield our kids from the world at times but she needs to be aware of the dangers.
She doesn't always know what to do with independence either. At the weekend we had our local street fair and we gave her a time a place to meet us so she could have a look around and yet she was back every five minutes checking in!
It can be hard to let go of our children and that is only natural. However, we have to trust that we have done the right job and let them get on with things at times. Of course this won't always end well but we all made mistakes when we were younger and we're still here to tell the story.
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On This Day
On this day in 1995 the Hindu milk miracle occurs, in which statues of the Hindu God Ganesh began drinking milk when spoonfuls were placed near their mouths.
Scientists suggested that the surface tension of the milk was causing it to be drawn up to coat the statue before it dribbled down the front.
Discover the work of new and independent filmmakers at the Raindance Film Festival in London’s West End. The largest independent film festival in Europe, Raindance Film Festival this year showcases more than 200 screenings, including short films, music videos and virtual reality films.
Fact Of The Week
Today is International Peace Day. If I've said it once I've said it a hundred times, be nice to each other! I can't really threaten violence if you don't as that pretty much contravenes the idea but seriously, heads will be cracked.