As a parent it can be as equally amazing as is unsettling to watch your child grow up and become their own person, no longer dependant on you as they once were. Parenting plays a vital role in helping your son transition from a boy to an adult. It’s important to guide him throughout this passage, but to also empower him to feel confident in his adult-skin.
Research suggests that parenting styles such as authoritarian and authoritative are generally the most effective, however, there is also research highlighting the efficacy of ‘submarine parenting’ as your son matures into adulthood. The style that is best suited to your son is a personal choice, unique to your family. A good balance is to provide him with the opportunity to manage his own life, whilst still been involved and there to support him when he needs it.
Here are some ways to support your son’s transition into adulthood.
1. Provide space
Providing your son with space while he progresses from a boy to a man will help prepare him for the many inevitable ups and downs that will occur in his life. This isn’t about ignoring your son — it’s about the balance between boundaries and freedom.
2. Allow your son to make his own decisions
Teenage boys face the tension of knowing what they want for themselves but can feel external pressure directing them to what they think they should want. Teenagers can make ungrounded decisions if they feel pressured, stressed or are seeking attention from their peers. As your son matures into adulthood, it’s important that he feels confident in making his own choices and is empowered to say no. Strengthen good decision-making by creating a safe and open forum to practice decision-making skills.
3. Speak respectfully
Speak in a tone that conveys that you truly value his opinion. While constructive criticism is extremely important, try to remain focused on what he is doing well. Let him know when you are proud of him and make a conscious effort to provide affirmation when he has made a mature decision on his own accord. Encourage the emerging adult in your son.
4. Model healthy behaviour
Your son pays attention to your actions more than you realise.Try to demonstrate the behaviour that you would like your son to emulate. Model good habits such as exercising, eating healthy and working hard. Providing a positive influence and exhibiting positive outcomes will encourage your son to do the same.
5. Let go of the power struggle
As your son transitions from a boy to an adult, you play the role of a guardian, overseeing his development until he is ready to step out on his own. Resist the urge to enter into a tug-of-war over power. Sometimes your son will make poor decisions, not realising the possible negative consequences. Instead of reacting with anger or confusion, try to understand what he’s trying to accomplish and work together to reach a healthy decision.
As your son grows, listen to your intuition and be prepared to take a step back to let him evolve into his own person. Give him the independence and support required for him to navigate adolescence and become a successful young man.
At Christ Church Grammar School, our focus is on building good men for the future. We place emphasis on equipping boys to live positively and courageously in an increasingly complex world. Download our Building Good Men Magazine to learn how our students are motivated to make a positive difference.