The more I am around boys of all ages, the more I am convinced that there are two definitive seasons of parenting: the season of instilling values and the season of allowing your boys to try out their own values. I think that there are some key mistakes that we make in both stages.
Mistake #1: We do not have a strategic plan for instilling values and we are not intentional in teaching those to our boys. If we are not thinking with the end in mind, then we will fall into the cultural trap of reactive parenting only.
Mistake #2: We fail to model the values that we are trying to teach our boys. I always try and remind myself that I cannot cast vision for something I am not willing to model myself.
Mistake #3: Our primary goal continues to be control and safety when it should be moving towards maturity and independence. I understand that this walking a fine line but I think we must constantly parent towards preparation for the future seasons of life. We are raising future husbands and fathers.
What are your demonstrated priorities? What would your son see as your priorities?
These questions must be answered before we begin to talk about transitioning from instilling values to letting our children try out their own values.
Here are some helpful suggestions for this key transition. Think of them as boundaries for reasonable independence.
1) Control what you can really control.
2) Make sure there are no surprises in your rules and expectations.
3) Give them the “why” behind your expectations and your decisions.
4) Map out a plan of transition so they know very clearly when your expectations and their responsibility for decisions will occur.
5) Realize sometimes that you have to be the bad guy.
6) Take advantage of the time to teach through decisions while they are still under your roof.
How are you doing with transition? My prayer is that we will all embrace our God given opportunity to raise boys into godly men.