Set Your Kids Free: 10 Things They Need to Be Able to Do on Their Own by Middle School
It used to be that kids were treated as mini adults, and now the pendulum has swung the other way and young adults are being treated (and acting) as overgrown kids. You have probably heard about the damage of being a too intense parent--whether that means tiger mom or helicopter parent. Now you may be wondering what should you be expecting of your child? The early childhood markers of independence--sitting, walking, potty training, etc.--get talked about a lot, but what is reasonable to expect of our older children is not as clear. Just what should our early adolescent/ middle school kids be able to do on their own?
I started thinking about this from the kids' point of view. That made me remember the children's literature I grew up on. Many of my favorite books were about young people taking charge independently--often away from their parents. Let's start with Enid Blyton's The Famous Five series. Beginning with Five on a Treasure Island, five cousins spend the summer having one adventure after the next. There is home base where meals are offered and the children check in, but the assumption of the adults seems to be that as long as they are out in the fresh air, together, that they are generally fine no matter what they are getting up to. In the Swallows and Amazon books by Arthur Ransome, six children are given permission to camp on an island in the middle of a lake. They cook over open fires and deal with the local "natives" (as the children refer to the adults) to procure supplies. Another popular example of kids on a mission is From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg. ...
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