Thursday, July 1, 2010

Becoming independent

Sometimes I start to slack off I get comfortable with the way things are. Then I remember that I'm on a journey to train my son to be independent. After all nobody wants to live with their parents forever. I hope to give Geoffrey all the tools he needs to be as independent as possible. He’ll be turning 15 this month and he's come farther than I ever could have imagined.

So now I'm becoming very conscious of all the little things I need to teach him. For example,
Being the growing teenager that he is I've had to start teaching him how to make his own food. It amazes me that some things that seem so simple can be so hard for him. For example, learning to make cereal. The slightest spill of milk could really cause him to get upset. Rather than quickly wiping up the spill G. would clean the whole counter and by the time he got back to the cereal it was all soggy. It's that problem solving thing again. You see I taught him how to clean the counter, but I didn't teach him how to cleanup a small spill.

Another thing we've learned how to use is a plunger. G. has to learn how to unclog the toilet. Someday he'll need to know how to do it. I felt kind of guilty teaching him how to do this. At first he tried to do everything he could to get out of doing this. And truth be told, it was easier for me just to do it rather than try and get him to do it himself. However, being a teenager, and a frequent clogger, I decided it was time for him to learn how to do this himself. I'm happy to report he is now an expert plunger.

The nice thing about teaching G. to be independent is that I think it makes him happier. It also makes life easier for me. At first it takes a lot of extra work, but the payoff is worth it.


Chynna said...

Bonnie, this is such an inspirational post because I've been trying to help Jaimie with this too. She is only 7 1/2 but she still depends on me for E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. The painful thing is that she doesn't try some things because she's convinced herself she can't because her body doesn't work the way she wants it to for other things. =(

So, recently, I've started getting her to do small things to develop her independence: choosing what she wants for lunch, getting her to brush her own teeth, caring for her clothes, etc. Did I tell you that she asked to stay for lunch at school? 8oO LOL!

I think the small things we're doing make a HUGE difference because if Jaimie didn't believe "I CAN do it!" she never would have been brave enough to try staying for lunch at school (having her wonderful friend, Maddie, sure helped too).

Thanks for this post. We need to remember that doing things on their own boosts confidence--even things like unclogging the toilet or learning to do laundry. =)


The Glasers said...

It is exciting to see our kids grow more independent! Pamela is 21yo and she does really well with fending for herself. I still do the cooking, but she can reheat leftovers, cook things in the microwave, make a salad the way she likes it, pour cereal, make hot chocolate with chocolate soy milk in the microwave, etc.

The biggest issue with problem solving is monitoring: filtering in what is really important and filtering out what is not. So, the example you gave of having to wipe the whole counter is a matter of not knowing what aspect of cleaning is really important. Of course, at least Geoffrey noticed the spill! LOL

LAA and Family said...

These kinds of things have very much been on my mind in the last year or so too, now that Samuel is 11 and is almost as big as an adult. We're having him do things like get his own bowls of cereal, and he's well on his way in learning to tie shoes.

Sue from Oz said...

I found this post inspiring too. I think it's our secret fear that our son will still be living with us when he's 40. I too am guilty of doing things myself rather than trying to get him to do it, just because I can't cope with the fight to get him to try. It's so easy with my younger (NT) son by comparison. Thanks for inspiring me to be more diligent