Helping your children grow and develop | Portsmouth High School

Helping your children grow and develop

My youngest son left home recently to go to Sandhurst and my husband and I could be described as empty nesters once again. I don’t think as parents we ever have a home that could be described as child free and certainly never empty – in my experience they boomerang back even if it is a temporary return. I still seem to have a bedroom full of my son’s clutter and so I feel his presence truly. Now my last child has supposedly moved out I feel I am in a position to reflect on helping my children grow and develop from babyhood to young adult.

I have learned to accept that I cannot interfere too much in their life. I may support and advise but in the end the decisions they make they have to own. I know that it is important to set standards and expectations of behaviour and then children develop their own moral code. It can be all too easy to expect your child to take up opportunities that parents missed when they were young and perhaps aim for a career of the parent’s aspiration. If you would like your child to be happy in the long term then they must choose their own direction in life.

However, I do agree that some children are too young to make big life changing decisions. I took into account my children’s wishes but I knew them best when it came to choosing schools, going to parties when they were underage and alcohol was present, screen time or its gaming equivalent and eating too much chocolate. Always offer a listening ear and whilst difficult try to be the “guide on the side” gently giving direction rather than forcing opinion or feeling you must act on behalf of your child to address an injustice by challenging other children and families, staff and school unless it is of such significance that affects the safety of your child. Of course the experience of life may give parents a degree of wisdom and knowledge. Children do not always take others view as the best way forward and however hard it is important to resist telling them “I told you so” when the choice made does not work out.