“Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.” - Anne Frank
There are certain truisms of parenting, from the moment you bring your child into the world, your job as a parent (and remember they don’t come with an instruction manual) is to turn them into a fully functioning, self-supporting adult who will hopefully, in the fullness of time, find a role in society that provides for them and that they occasionally remember to drop in and let you know how they are getting on! The journey from the completely reliant child to autonomous young adult is twisty, full of ups and downs and is different for everyone. What works in one family or with one child (I know I have 3!) is not always the same, so no blueprint there!
What’s love got to do with it?
It is OK for your child to be nervous, in fact quite understandable and they may benefit from hearing this. If this is the first time your child has been apart from you for more than a night or two, add in the thought of distance away from home and suddenly both of you are feeling the separation more keenly than a few tens of miles would warrant. Talk to your child – this may well involve lots of words like flexibility, trust, preparation, adaptability, planning, honesty, practice and love. As parents we will spend much of our time, planning for different possibilities or outcomes, practicing what might be required, teaching and encouraging flexibility and adaptability, but what’s love got to do with it? A loved child will feel safe to try new things and will feel strong enough to tackle the world outside the safety of the home.
Preparation is key!
Preparing your child for their first trip away is absolute key, however to what extent you need to plan and prepare will be different for each of us. Some parents will feel that being on top of the logistics of the trip are sufficient for your child - simply what to pack and when and where to be. Others may require more in-depth preparation with greater attention to detail leaving less to “seat of the pants” decision requirements, although this is often an excellent skill to acquire!
It’s going to be amazing!
Whichever tack you take, it’s important to reiterate to your child the huge benefits that come with participating in a residential trip. Encourage them to embrace the new and open their eyes to the value of taking on new challenges in new environments. They won’t fully be aware of it pre-trip but assure them that these amazing kind of opportunities will create memories which will be treasured for years to come and may form some of the best experiences of their school life.
For further information about the residential trips that Rockley offer, please click below: