Be C.O.O.L. when preparing children for life as an adult |

Be C.O.O.L. when preparing children for life as an adult

Family LifePatty Schaffner, YouthZone Pal Program Director

Our youngest turns 21 this month, which means both our children will be full-fledged adults. Whoa! How did that happen? I marvel at their level of competence, both totally putting themselves through college, paying for their own cars and housing, one now married and starting her master’s program. Could we help more? Probably. Should we? Absolutely not. By the grace of God and by sometimes doing the right kind of parenting, they are experiencing the joy of being capable and responsible. Did we make mistakes? Oh yes, many! My own mom who mothered eight children once said, “You are never richer than your poorest child and you are never happier than your saddest child.” She was so very right. This thought was a motivation for us to try to move our children to being responsible, capable and independent people. Thankfully, we had some good instruction through YouthZone’s parenting classes we took years ago which gave us the confidence to use the C.O.O.L. formula in our family.The C.O.O.L. formula is Love and Logic terminology, but the principles are present in almost every parenting curriculum.”C” stands for control that is shared. Giving your children some control will allow you to keep your share of control. This control is shared by allowing your child to make choices for themselves. Preschoolers, elementary, middle and high school students thrive on making a choice. They are practicing for adulthood.”O” stands for ownership of the problem. “Whose problem is it?” is a great question to ask yourself and your child when there is a problem. The answer will help determine who needs to take action. Parents often mistake the answer to this question as their own problem, when, in fact it is their child’s problem. A common mistake parents make is thinking that their child’s grades are their (the parent’s) problem. I was guilty at one time of this very mistake. What a relief for both myself and my children, when I realized their grades were their problem. “O” stands for opportunity for thinking and decision making. Children need to have the opportunity to think through consequences of their action instead of the parent thinking for them. Would you even dream of stealing from your children? We, as parents, do it all the time when we decide what our kids should think or do when faced with a decision. “L” stands for let empathy and consequences do the teaching. We all learn about the real world by making mistakes and learning from them. Parents who allow their children to make mistakes and learn from them are giving their children a lifelong gift.Because our children are now adults, making their own decisions, we are able to parent less. Our new roles are to mentor, coach and continue encouraging our adult children. The C.O.O.L. formula was and still is the foundation of our relationship with our own children, and with the work we do with other families. Call YouthZone at 945-9300 or check our Web site a for the fall Parenting schedule.

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