When I had my first born, I was a parenting-book junkie. I wanted to learn it all and do it all correctly. I highlighted and took notes. I loved to imagine what it would be like to mold and shape my little boy into a young man.
I’ll never forget stopping in my tracks when I read somewhere that my real job, from the time my son was little, was to train him to be independent–to quite literally not need me one day.
I understood the concept, but I didn’t want to. I put the book down and snuggled my helpless infant in my arms for a few more minutes.
Teaching Your Teens to be Resourceful via The MOB Society
Today that infant is fifteen and quite capable. And as much as it hurts to imagine him not being a daily part of my household, I realize that time is coming–and it will be good.
I think it helped to have those seeds planted in my heart from the very beginning. Somehow, over time, I think we have walked a very natural pathway from dependency, to a place where my son will be equipped and even excited (sniff sniff) to spread his wings in a couple of years.
We have given all four of our boys increasing independence as they have matured. They have had age-appropriate responsibilities, as well as opportunities to make choices (and live with consequences.)
One thing I have been practicing (and quite enjoying) is giving our teenage boys intentional opportunities to grow in “resourcefulness.” Though it takes a bit of training (and releasing control) on the front end, this has been a super helpful practice.
And what I’ve found: A resourceful son is a rewarding son. My boys help me out in so many ways now!
Here are just a few practical ways that I have found to nudge my boys towards independence in this area of resourcefulness.
1. Make the call! Technical issues? A package didn’t arrive on time? I show the boys how to find a customer service number, then hand them the phone! I stay near enough to help if they need it, but far enough away that I don’t make them nervous. They’ve always done great, and the person on the other line never fails to comment on how grown up they handle things if/when they find out their age.
2. Look it up. Son, meet Google. Meet Siri. Meet Wikipedia. Kids figure these resources out without a lot of help, but using them for the practical things? Yes! With a little direction (and a filter on the computer!) they can most certainly find the help they need! **Sometimes it’s hard not to jump in and interfere. Stepping back and keeping my mouth closed is the key to allowing the kids to learn!
3. Give them work! From their daily chores, to mowing the lawn and fix-it jobs, teens can learn and be so helpful. Take advantage and it’s a win-win.
4. Read the manual. When my oldest son got a new camera—the manual was the first thing he got acquainted with. And by golly—there’s all kinds of information in there! 🙂 Craving a certain food? Find it on Pinterest, print recipe, and learn to cook it! So. Much. Fun.
These are just a few practical ways my teens are learning to get comfortable managing independently. I’m hoping to raise confident, resourceful men, and also to win the heart of my future daughter-in-laws! 🙂