Enabling always seems to have a negative connotation. My friends are enablers when it comes to my obsession with bags. “Sure, buy another one, Michelle.” Some friends are enablers when it comes to imbibing. “Just one more.”
There are ways we can enable our children that are positive. I had a conversation this week with an employee of a doctor’s office. She said that there are times when adult children will come in after their parents have made the appointment for them and with a check signed by their parents. These are not 14-year-old children, but adults in their late 20s, early 30s.
We should be enabling our children to be able to make their own appointments, pay for their own co-pays, if appropriate, and check in when they arrive at the doctor’s office.
There is nothing wrong with handing a child as young as eight the insurance card and teaching them how to say their name and why they are there. “Hi. I’m Michelle. I’m here for my 11 o’clock appointment with Dr. so and so.” When the doctor asks for my insurance card, I can hand it over. Children should also be able to update information at a doctor’s office or at the library. “Do you still live at…?” “Is your phone number still 867-5309?”
Teaching our youth to talk on the phone, speak to an adult and show initiative is a great skill that will serve them well in life. There is no reason I can think of why a grown adult should be relying on his or her parents to make appointments, unless they are overseas fighting for our country or on a mission trip.
Teaching our children may seem like we are trying to get them to grow up too soon, but if you don’t do it now, they will be the 30-year-old that doesn’t know how to ask for what they need.
Sometimes all it takes is giving them a script to follow in certain circumstances. I am not an expert and knowing that my daughter will be flying alone for the first time makes me anxious, but I hope that she has learned from traveling with the family all she will need to know to make her trip a success.
Is it time to let your child grow up?