Inspirational Thought

"The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 7:13 NIV

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Independence Day

This month I'll be posting a series of articles writing by myself and a few other contributors about "The School of Mom". "The School of Mom" goes beyond homeschooling and structured classes. "The School of Mom" teaches life skills that you can't get anywhere else, no matter what education program you have them enrolled in.

One of those things I have been very big on teaching Chris and will teach Brent as he grows is independence. The sense that he can take care of himself, make his own decisions, get along without running to mommy and daddy for every little scrape.

It seems from the very beginning of life, life works to separate mother from baby. As baby grows he gets less and less dependent on mommy for everything...he learns to walk, talk, gets potty trained. Sure there are things that mommies are always needed for, but eventually as they hit the teenage years some of the things they have come to rely on us to do they become capable of doing themselves.

I have always encouraged and supported Chris in his decisions. If it turns out I don't like his decision, I will tell him that. If it turns out he made a very good decision. I will also tell him he knows that's the kind of decision he should keep making.

I have always endeavoured to teach Chris that he's alright without me around him 24/7. I remember a time when he was old enough to start attending Sunday School and the church we went to at the time was only 5 minutes away. I dropped him off for Sunday School and drove back home until it was closer to the start of the main worship service an hour and a half later. My husband could not believe that I had left him there all by himself. My response was why. For one reason, I trusted these people implicitly. Secondly, he wasn't naturally prone to separation anxiety, anyway, and I didn't want to "encourage" the potential of that behavior. Mind you, if I had received reports from his Sunday School teacher that she was having difficulty with him in class, I would have stayed, but...I knew my child and knew that this was one thing he could do on his own.

As Chris got older the fight turned to getting his homework done by himself, getting himself ready for school and bed without me having to stand over him. For the most part we had succeeded, but have regressed somewhat.

Another big thing was learning to walk to school on his own if he missed the bus. What makes this a tougher lesson for Chris than for most kids, is that he's mildly autistic (Aspergers for those who are familiar with the term). Since Chris is "identified" the bus drivers are a little more diligent about where and with whom Chris got off the bus with. In fact, when he was 10 the bus driver still refused to let him off at the bus stop if one of us wasn't there. At 6 or 7, I can see, but at 10?

Anyway, this sort of teaching comes about with reinforcement of the other things we have tried to teach him - respect, consideration, logic and reasoning, encouragement that we know he's capable of figuring these things out on his own, congratulating him when he's done a good job and gently correcting him when he's done something wrong.

Okay...I guess I'll leave it there. Until next time!

Darlene Oakley


"Your words have the power to change a life for the good or the bad.  What will your words do?"

1 comment:

Heather L said...

I have an aspie too. I love him bunches but he wants me to be his everything. We too have had to work at encouraging independence. God bless.