What Exactly Are We Teaching — Checkpoint

Do you have those moments when you question what you have (or are) teaching your child?

Our oldest is off on an extended camping trip. He prepared for the trip, ensuring he had his gear, and everything on his checklist. He would have his phone with him, but coverage would be sketchy being in rural terrain. While we knew he’d like his phone to listen to music or a podcast, we were surprised when he wanted to use it to call us.

I’ve shared before, our son will do much to distance himself from us these days — even when at home, so it was a surprise when we got a call the first night he was away. He was with a newer group of kids he didn’t know particularly well and was getting adjusted.

We were surprised when he called again the second and third night. The calls were short, he mainly would run through what he had done, and share how he was doing mentally and physically. Part of me loved him calling. Knowing he was okay, and staying connected. Another part was concerned. Wouldn’t my son grow more (in his confidence, capabilities) if he weren’t in contact with us and made it through the trip without communication? I talked to my husband about it. We agreed that while this was a test run for our son’s future independence, our son needed to know he would be just fine going throughout the trip without being in contact with us. So hard, but needed.

We weren’t sure how to broach the topic with him, but two things came into play — coverage was spotty and some days he didn’t have signal, and his battery (even with power sticks to give him extended use) finally gave out. He’d be forced to go without communication for the second half of the trip. Was I worried? Part of me, yes. Not hearing from him makes he wonder what he’s up to and how he’s doing. But a bigger part of me, the part of me that knows I need to arm him with the skills he needs to be on his own, wasn’t.

I look forward to him getting home with these new experiences and knowledge of his abilities. I’m also waiting for him to want to distance himself again from his father and I. It’s part of growing up. He’s reminding me that I have to stop, periodically, and check in and acknowledge (or challenge) what I’m teaching him. And be aware that time is short as he’ll be off on his own before I know it, and I want to make sure I’ve given him all the tools he’ll need to fly.

What capabilities are you most interested in giving your child? What prompts you to check-in regarding what your teaching your child?

4 thoughts on “What Exactly Are We Teaching — Checkpoint

    • That’s great. I found the Asperkids Secret Book of Social Rules by Jennifer Cook O’Toole to have one of the best explanations of friendship — what a friend is, how they treat one another, etc. It doesn’t help against bullying per se (as that has more of a power/control component), but does help provide any child with what healthy relationships look like between people. Anything you’ve come across (or are using) that’s been helpful for you in teaching your kids about bullying?

      • Mine is more instance based. For e.g. my elder daughter was narrating an incident in school where some student, younger to her & her friends kind of asked about are they juniors?. These elder girls replied that no we are senior to you and the younger girl kind of sped away. So while she was telling me this in an amusing manner, I told her that make sure that the girl is not scared when you meet her again next time and try to be friendly instead of showing school senior attitudes.

      • Sounds like you handled it well. Confidence (not showing fear) a good strategy. I can recall getting harassed on the bus by a boy when I was younger. He was being relentless and I just took it, until I got off the bus crying and a friend’s mom asked, “why are you letting him treat you like that?” That was an aha moment for me. I went to school the next day and when I had the opportunity I let the other boy have it, letting him know I wouldn’t allow him (or anyone) treat me like he had again. Amazing what a few words from a caring adult did to help me. Your insight and guidance likely doing the same. 😊

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