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Running Down A Dream Featured

Written by  Sunday, 08 October 2017 21:22
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Pervasive Parenting
By Kodey Toney


I attended the Oklahoma Transition Institute in Norman, and came back with some great insight. I’m going to enclose a couple things that resonate with what I have been sharing lately. If you’ve followed me long you with know that I have shared some of this before, but I think it’s important to remember.

During a breakout session I had a close friend and mentor say something that I found important. Jen Randle, director of the Youth Leadership Forum, that helps transitioning students prepare for post-secondary education, stated some advice that I will paraphrase. She said that as parents we think we know what a good life for our child would be, and for the most part we do. What we should be doing though is giving our children experiences to help them make that decision for themselves.

In other words, we get so hung up on what we think they should be doing with their future that we steer them in that direction and don’t let them make their own decisions. Better yet, we don’t even give them enough information to know what might be of interest for them. We either think they can’t do certain things, are scared of letting them explore other options, or are afraid they will fail. The question becomes, have we ever failed? Did we get the chances in life to try things to see if we like them?

Loosen the strings a little and give them room. You will not always be here to guide them. Let them learn to guide themselves.

Another point she made was to help your child reach as many goals as possible without system related supports.

I’ve said this many times, but it’s worth repeating; let them be as independent or interdependent as possible. Nobody is 100 percent independent. We rely on someone to help if something happens in life. That is why it is vital to a child’s future to let them do things on their own.

My wife and I have had this conversation several times lately because so many times parents come to me asking how to get a paraprofessional for their child in the classroom. I believe teachers could use help in the classroom, but it’s not often that the child needs an aide specifically assigned to them. Many parents will disagree with me, but as long as there is someone in that room to assist if things get out of hand everything will be ok. Your child might need to be redirected a little, or encouraged to download their work, but to have someone leaning over them all the time, and oftentimes just doing too much for them, they are never going learn to be fully independent. Will they have those services when they are older? Better yet, do you want them to? If your answer is no, that you want your child to succeed in life without supports then allow them to learn that way as much as possible.

Let them dream big, and give them the tools to live that dream.



David Deaton

Digital Editor at Oklahoma Welcome

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