Like any other teenager, 13-year-old Simon asserts his needs for independence and privacy. His father Edwin, the more mature figure securing a safe and trusting home environment, continues to maintain his nurturing connection with his son.
Simon got accepted into a high school district in August 2019, where he practically did not know anyone in his class except two other students from his previous primary school. Honed with favorable social skills, he slowly developed his friendships and bonded with the other students in the class. He would deliberately mention his classmates’ names over dinnertime when sharing about his day at school.
Sometime in June 2020, Simon asked permission if he could spend a weekend with his new friends on a campsite by a lake. Edwin was a bit apprehensive namely for several reasons: a) too young to be left without parental and staff supervision onsite, b) he hardly knows Simon’s friends, and c) the threat of the ongoing pandemic. With an ambivalent feeling, he initially agreed on the condition for Simon to spend only the entire day on the campsite.
Weeks before the camping trip, Simon’s new friends had regular study groups at his house. It gave Edwin an opportunity to be acquainted with his son’s new circle of friends. Meeting Simon’s new friends, he felt he could trust Simon with their company. By the time the camping event was scheduled in July 2020, Edwin permitted Simon to spend the entire weekend at the campsite without any reservations.
Edwin’s decision of allowing Simon to experience camping with his friends did not only strengthen his bond with his friends but he also learned how to camp out.
Later in the fall, Edwin hosted a surprise birthday party for Simon. All the planning leading up to the party brought him into direct contact with Simon’s friends. They gave their input on how to make it a successful event. By the time the party was held, he knew most of the children quite well.
With a new mutual understanding between a father and his teenage son, it is easier for Simon to ask permission from Edwin every time he wants to spend time with his friends in the city.
Trust is a gradual process that requires a mutual commitment between you and your child, which is best nurtured at a very young age. This secured attachment will inevitably strengthen your parent-child relationship, which allows your child to disclose any conflicts or problems without being judged. It is evident, as Simon is going through his early teens, that he is cultivating his psychological needs. His sense of safety in the company of his high school friends will further boost his well-being as well as both his cognitive and emotional intelligence, in the hope that he will continue to discover confidently what the world has to offer him.
*Name has been changed in the story for anonymity