Published On: 8 July 2024Tags:

As the end of term looms, parents might be struggling for ideas to fill the six weeks holiday. However, the ten rites of passage within the Strengthening Families Strengthening Communities curriculum contain over 101 things to do. 

Rites of passage is a weird concept for many, various literal and cultural meanings have been adopted worldwide, but our use of the term simply describes developing skills or competencies to transition from one stage of life to another.  Importantly, the transition from childhood to adulthood is the main focus and may include events such as; Completing school, learning to drive, 18th or 21st Birthday, first date, interview, job or holiday with friends, etc.  These first milestones may be cause for celebration with achieving adulthood, but in between there will be hundreds of new skills and achievements worthy of developing with or without the celebration all of which contribute to the main transition to becoming an adult. 

Of the many aims of SFSC, the programme seeks to provide information and activities that will assist parents in helping their children develop the knowledge and skills necessary to make the transition from childhood to adulthood.  Ultimately, parents cannot stop children from transitioning from one developmental stage to another, but they can influence how they transition and enable their success.  Children and young people therefore need adults who understand and can manage the tasks, difficulties, and opportunities to mentor their transition in a meaningful way – SFSC groups support parents in doing this.

There is no one-size-fits-all to the coming-of-age process, even the law provides different age parameters for being an adult or at least attributing adult responsibility.  The ten rites of passage and associated activities allow parents to customise the skills and various social competences they deem important to meet the unique needs of each young person and their family and community culture to bridge childhood and adulthood successfully.

Going through each rite of passage sequentially can be gratifying to see the areas that have already been addressed, perhaps these were instinctive, natural, and easier to develop. Or, a parent may have been supported in achieving some of the skills and competencies through their circle of support like learning to cook (physical rite), developing the skill of mindfulness (emotional rite), love of reading (mental rite), the value of money (economic rite), etc.  However, it’s important to review areas deliberately neglected, perhaps a parent attributes less value in developing a skill, or, they may not have the skill or confidence themselves to pass on to their child.

If there are areas parents have deliberately or otherwise overlooked, the six-week break provides time to address this. However, if there’s another more complex concern, perhaps an important personal or family value in conflict with modern expectation or ‘teenage culture’ , for example, some element of the political or emotional rite of passage does not exactly align with your values, the long summer might provide the time and space to decide whether this skill or competence should be developed, and if so, how and by whom. 

Left unchecked, we can imagine the various negative activities young people may adopt in transitioning themselves and determining their status as adults.  Parents may not be able to convey a particular rite of passage, but they are responsible for putting their child in the path of another who might be better suited to develop the desired skill or competence if they recognise the value of investing their child with such, thus giving all young people the opportunity to achieve adulthood well-armed and prepared for the journey ahead.