HSHSP Ep 183: Apprenticing Your Teens for Adulthood, Interview with Susan Landry
Apprenticing your teens for adulthood. What is that?
Vicki is joined by Susan Landry of the Sparrow’s Home, where Susan writes about home, homeschooling, cooking and all things related. (She bucks the trend of staying with one topic; she believes God created us as whole people, so she creates wholistic post topics. She works on mentoring moms!)
Susan homeschooled her teens through graduation and loves it! She believes in apprenticing your teens for adulthood.
Susan believes that we are also mentoring or apprenticing teens is the balance between free-ranging teens and helicoptering teens. She noticed a trend in blogs and in the media that urges parents to *quit doing so much for your teens*: teaching teens to be independent and stand on their own two feet by not doing anything for teens. By stepping back and out of the parenting picture. Susan felt that we need to HELP them become adults!
We can be helpers, apprenticers and mentors without helicoptering (heavy equipment mothering, one of our favorite HSHSP episodes). The balance we must find is between “stepping out of the picture” and helicoptering. It is apprenticing your teens for adulthood!
How do we apprentice our teens for adulthood?
- We DON’T say things like: We’re telling you that you can’t watch this!
- We DO say things like: You can’t watch this and this is why. We want you to learn to make choices on what you watch. We want you to become a Christian man.
- In other words: cast the vision for healthy, Christian adulthood. Then, have lots of conversations.
Have you noticed that parenting teenagers is different than parenting young children? For homeschool high schoolers, we offer:
- Discussion on both
Parenting of teens should not be *hard boundaries only* vs *here are the tv controllers, figure it out*. Parenting is not a dichotomy (black and white). In order to figure out if you are close to that health middle ground, ask yourself: Would you treat a friend this way?
Here are some examples:
- It is okay to keep fixing their food while they are home.
- But at same time training them to cook and involving them in the process.
- If teens forget things for co-op at home, do bring it.
- But not if they have a habit of it, bad habits are broken by natural consequences.
Remember: Would you treat your friend this way?
People who believe in hands off in kids’ education say: Don’t meddle in your teens’ education.
Susan feels like homeschooling moms are the poster child for meddling in their teens’ education, but it should be healthy meddling.
Apprenticing your teens for adulthood looks like:
- Involving homeschool high schoolers in curriculum planning
- Involving homeschool high schoolers in discussions about current events
- Teaching homeschool high schoolers Biblical worldview, apologetics and critical thinking skills. (We also recommend philosophy. Catch this HSHSP episode with Dr. Micah Tillman.)
- Giving your homeschool high schoolers opportunities to travel
- Talking to your homeschool high schoolers about what they learn in co-op, dual enrollment classes and church youth group.
- Teaching your teen skills for handling stressors. (Check out 7Sisters whole-person Health curriculum.)
- Being a sounding board. Teens need a safe parent to come to when they bump into troubling or confusing things.
- Don’t helicopter and tell them what to believe but give them
- Teaching them time management and other life skills in dual enrollment.
- Many teens do not naturally organize their time. They need training. This is healthy apprenticing.
- Show them how you would do it, let them develop their own skills
When kids are young, we tell them how to do things and what to do, “because I said so”. They are not developmentally ready to understand many “whys”. Teens are able.
Apprenticing your teens for adulthood includes allowing them to fail.
Some parents never allow teens to learn the hard lessons in life. We cannot really protect teens from the consequences of their own choices. We need to give them freedom to fail, but have safe failures. When they fail, we offer advice, prayer and consequences. We would do this for a friend, wouldn’t we do this for our teens? You step in when they are about to waltz over a cliff.
- For instance, one of Vicki’s homeschool high schoolers, decided to his co-op Language Arts research paper topic on the whole history of Russia. He did not want to narrow the topic to a smaller time period according to mom’s advice.
- Susan tells the story about one son who works near her house. He left for work one morning and leaned over to pick something up off the passenger side floor, while driving. He hit a mailbox. Susan and her husband required him to notify the people who owned the mailbox and pay for damages. These are natural consequences. There were plenty of discussions for apprenticing before and after the accident, but these consequences were important. This is *healthy meddling*.
Susan offers this further advice:
Parenting teens is not the horrible path some people make it out to be. It is SO much fun. You are finally getting to see much of what you have poured into them come to fruition. You get to watch them become individuals. You can have so many great conversations and lovely times.
- Susan can be found at The Sparrow’s Home.
- Susan has a delightful ebook on How to Homeschool Disney. Susan’s family loves Disney and has found SO many learning opportunities there.
Join Vicki and Susan for this delightful discussion on apprenticing your teens for adulthood!
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