Some children never leave their parental home. These cases are rare and all know that sooner or later children must go out into the world and start their own separate lives. Once children do leave home there are many challenges both for the parents and for those who are leaving.
In reality no two “leaving home” experiences are exactly the same. There is a difference between the first child who leaves and the last one. Parents know their children must leave, but sometimes they are reluctant to let go. The same applies to the children. Some go easily while others stay put.
Sometimes parents feel rather redundant or not as useful when their children stop depending upon them. Emotional reasons exist and these must be recognised and dealt with. Parents have the first duty to inform their children that they support their leaving, but at the same time they must make it clear that they are always welcome back anytime for a visit. These visits are important especially when parents become older.
Children must be taught to be independent and to be ready to live on their own. They must be prepared to have their own careers, families and circle of friends. This process is very natural and good. So, what do children need to know in order to be on their own?
First of all they should be ready to arm themselves with God’s help in time of trouble. They need faith; they need to choose God as their own not because someone told them to do so. They need to be pray and join the community which is always a tower of strength for young people – it is the extended family. Membership in Ukrainian youth organisations and the church is very important.
Children must be able to look after themselves. Such things as hygiene, health, safety, comfort and nutrition are the building blocks of life. Remember when you told them to clean their rooms? That is now important for looking after their surroundings, new home and the environment.
How do you train them to be independent? Nothing new here; it’s what you have been doing all the time. Give your children more and more responsibilities as they get older. They need to learn to look after themselves, their rooms and the family home. Should they need to go to the doctor, let them go on their own if that is possible. Teach them to cook for themselves and for the family. Let them wash dishes. Respect their privacy in their own rooms and lives. Teach them to work and earn their own money. Stop being the total supplier of all their cash. Let them shop for their own clothes. Let them learn to live with their mistakes. Don’t rescue them if they waste money.
Responsibility is a way of developing our relationship with God, family, friends and neighbours.
Actually you will probably be surprised to learn that if you, as a parent, have done the basics in good faith, your ‘leaving’ children will do quite well.
This post is also available in: Ukrainian