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Roots and Wings

Some time ago (I have just discovered the Connect with Kids blog) Stacey wrote a post entitled Roots and Wings – go check it out. In it she concluded with:

There’s an old saying that “the best gifts we can give our children are roots, then wings.”

Here is our take on the topic:

One very helpful analysis currently popular, describes the role of adults as providing young people with Roots and Wings.

Let me explain: ‘Roots. Young people must have communicated to them a sense of stability, security: a sense of belonging, a sense of identity: a frame of reference, so that who I am is firmly established and what we stand for is firmly defined. The young person also needs Wings. That is, they need to create within themselves a sense of imagination. The Bible says that when people no longer dream dreams or have visions, they perish. It is so important that we get young people to dream dreams; help them to imagine what they could be; help them to conceptualise in their imagination what the future might be if God has his way with them. To dream dreams, to help a child believe in himself.’

When we consider the journey of adolescence we would do well to look into these twin ideas and analyse the extent to which we can give to the young people roots and wings. Then in the light of that examination plan ways in which they can do continue and improve.image 5 Roots and Wings

Claire Short in her book, ‘Parenting Teenagers’ writes, ‘All too often obsessive protection is confused with love. It isn’t. It can be a totally selfish act by parents, stunting their children’s emotional development and preventing them from coping in today’s society.’ We need to be aware of the dangers of over-protection. By picking up kids at the school – taking them everywhere may, say some psychologists, breed a generation which grows up feeling it is perilous to be independent, without confidence in their own competence they will lack self esteem and the skills to survive and raise a family.

During their teenage years they will be looking for greater and greater independence and your main task is to establish their competence and readiness for the world of adulthood. Security is vital during these developing years and, in our experience, this need for security does not stop when the young person goes off to university. It is helpful to remember that your teenager’s readiness for independence is a sign of success.

NB. Recent research indicates that the parents are still the strongest influence on their adolescent children – despite all the increases in pressure from peers and the media. These secondary influences often shape decisions at a transitory and superficial level, the fashions of the moment, but the long-term development of character, personality and values flows primarily from parents.

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