3 articles Tag independence

How Can We Encourage Our Teens to be More Independent?

As parents, we all want to wrap up our kids in cotton wool. We want to protect them from the world and provide everything they could ever want and need- but as they grow up and become teenagers we know that’s not best for them any longer. While we’ll always be (and want to be) responsible for our children, one of the greatest gifts we can give them going into adulthood is independence. The ability to stand on their own two feet, and the confidence to know that they can do anything they want. If your child is quickly transforming into a teen, here are some of the things you can do in the coming years to pave the way to becoming a successful adult.

via Pexels

Teach them to cook

Cooking is such an important skill to take into adulthood. Knowing how to cook healthy, balanced meals to a budget will allow them to manage their money as well as their weight and health. Too many teens and young adults leave the family home not knowing how to cook much more than beans or toast, macaroni and cheese or microwave meals. Encourage a love and passion for cooking and good food, teach them basic skills as well as inform them of the kinds of ingredients that go well together. You could get a cookbook for their age range, and work on perfecting a number of recipes. By the time kids leave home, they should be confident in their ability to feed themselves without needing to rely on takeaways and convenience meals.

Get them driving

Once your teen reaches the legal age to drive, getting them onto the roads can be really beneficial. There’s no doubt that this will cost you a small fortune, but once they’ve passed their insurance will gradually decline and by the time they leave home it should be affordable for them. Their age and lack of driving experience will go against them enormously when it comes to insurance, and if they’ve managed to gain some points you’d have to use a specialist young driver insurance with points. But the sooner they pass and the more experience they gain, their insurance will go down each year. Starting out in the world as a young adult is hard enough, but having a car and the independence this brings can make life much easeir for them. It can broaden their job horizons and means that you don’t have to ferry them around.

Encourage them to get a job

Whether it’s to pay towards their car or just for their luxuries, having a job teaches responsibility. It teaches the value of money and can show them how to manage it at a young age. They can learn how to budget and the importance of saving if you really want something. When you give your kids everything they want and need, they can struggle to see the value of them or understand the time and effort it takes to earn that money. So by them getting a job there are some important lessons there.

Keeping Your Elderly Relatives Independent

If you’ve ever had an elderly relative, it’s likely that you’ll know about the struggle to keep them mobile and independent in their own homes. It’s quite rare for someone to willingly move to an assisted living facility, and often they’ll want to stay in their own home for as long as possible, so finding mobility aids to help them is really important for both their safety and your peace of mind. Here are a few things which can help:

Riser Chairs

When you’re able bodied, you don’t realise how difficult just the act of sitting down and standing up can be, but once you lose strength and stability in your legs, it can be really daunting. It’s possible to buy reclining armchairs which also have a mechanism which lifts you up into an almost standing position and then lowers you back down when you want to sit again, and they can be an absolute godsend for people with mobility issues.

Mug Holders

If your elderly relative lacks strength in their hands or wrists, something as simple as trying to have a cup of tea can not only become tricky, but also downright dangerous as the risk of getting a lap full of boiling water increases. Mug holders allow you to slip a normal mug into an external casing which provides you with an extra handle to hold, allowing you to safely hold a mug with two hands, increasing your strength and stability. You can also buy two-handled teapots!

Bedrails

For many reasons, as people get older, their risk of falling out of bed gets higher, which can not only be dangerous but also feel daunting and demoralising. Bed rails may make a bed look a little clinical but they’re a great way to make bedtime safe again, and can even improve the quality of sleep that your elderly relative will get because they’re safe in the knowledge that they won’t fall out of bed again.

Bathroom Rails

Being able to bathe independently is often the thing that elderly people want to maintain more than any other aspect of living, probably because washing yourself is such a personal thing. Installing rails around the bathroom to help them to get in and out of the bath or shower can mean that your elderly relative is able to be more steady on their feet while washing, and reduces the need for help from someone else, increasing the level of dignity that they maintain.

Gardening Tools

It’s all well and good being able to get around the home, but most people want to maintain a sense of normality outside of the home too, and for many thins means being able to continue to maintain their garden. There are gardening tools available with enhanced grips to make them easier for people with mobility issues to hold, and being able to do a little bit of gardening can have a massive effect on a person’s mental wellness.

A Step Towards Independence (Or: A Shift in Our Relationship)

alone-cute-girl-independent-little-reason-to-smile-Favim.com-327012

Being pregnant has been infinitely more pleasant this time around. People keep telling me how well I look and I have to check to see if they’re talking to someone else, so used am I to being ill, pallid and drawn when up the duff. I never thought I’d be the sort of person who would wear pregnancy well, so to look in the mirror and see my skin and hair looking so healthy, colour in my cheeks (but not too much; my rosacea is better than its ever been) and none of my extremities resembling those of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters is a real treat.

However, pregnancy is already affecting both Sausage and I in other ways.

BP (Before Pregnancy), I loved nothing more than being able to pick my girl up and give her a cuddle. I can’t do that now – obviously, I shouldn’t be lifting heavy things, but my back and pelvis simply wouldn’t allow me to at the moment anyway. Sure, I can still snuggle with her on the sofa, or bend down for a hug, but it’s not the same.

In a similar vein, I’m no longer able to lift Sausage out of the shower anymore. Our shower is an over-the-bath one and BP, I’d wrap Sausage in a towel and lift her out. A recent trip to Ikea and one step-stool later, Sausage is now able to step in and out for herself and while I’m proud of her for being so willing to embrace independence, I feel sad that it’s something that she can no longer rely on me for.

We want Sausage to be fully involved with this pregnancy and everything else, which is one of the reasons that she’s attended all of my scans so far, and Husband and I have spent the last few months telling her all of the ways in which she’ll be able to help her little sister when she comes along, but I’ve become really conscious of the prospect of forcing her to grow up too much.

I’m also concerned that it will affect our relationship in a more general sense. She’s already started going to Husband for things that she’d normally come to me for (although, she’s very close to her Dad anyway and is lucky to have him working from home) and if I’m preoccupied with a baby, I can only see this getting worse. I cherish my relationship with Sausage, as any mother does, and the thought of it changing irreparably is a real concern.

All I know is, by the time the baby is born and I’ve recovered fully from my c-section, it will be almost a year since I’ve been able to pick her up and although I’m so happy about adding to our family, it does make me a little sad that I’ll have missed out on that interaction with her. I guess it’s normal to be having these thoughts and this is just one of many changes that are inevitable when you have more than one child, especially when there’s a five and a half year age gap, but I’m just so not ready for Sausage to no longer rely on me.

So, dear readers, any of your usual words of advice? As usual, it would be much appreciated.