Now that summer has hit, we have the perfect opportunity to teach our children a critical life skill: Problem-Solving. As I told about 300 kindergarten students in the last few weeks: “Adults are not always going to be around to watch everything single thing you do, which also means they won’t always be around to tell you what to do. As you get older, you have to learn how to do things all by yourself.” So parents, here is the formula: Decrease your control; increase your supervision.

As of Wednesday night, Micah James St. Romain became our newest high school graduate. [And there was much rejoicing.] Which means, of course, in just about nine weeks, he will be heading off to college. So our goal is to really step back this summer. We will support, encourage and monitor, but ultimately, Micah has to be given a lot more control. He needs to wash his own clothes, take his own medication, regularly bathe, etc. – without his parents telling him to do so. I know Micah will make a lot of mistakes, but I’d sure rather him do so under our roof than when he is away at college. I also believe these mistakes will provide natural consequences which will help him learn critical life lessons.

This summer, I will be fighting the urge to tell my children what they can and cannot do. Instead, I will try to be a sounding board and allow them to solve their own problems. Mind you, I have four older adolescent boys, so I will also increase supervision and be aware of their whereabouts so I am able to provide boundaries, accordingly. I think this formula of decreased control and increased supervision is appropriate at all developmental levels. So, I encourage you to try it out and see what happens.