Nurturing Your Child’s Independence as a Parent

July 1, 2009 by  
Filed under Parenting

One of the basic facts of life is that babies eventually grow into children who grow into adults. While children grow older, there’s no guarantee that they’ll grow up. This is because for children to learn about the consequences of their actions and have a happy and healthy life, they need to be independent to a large degree.

When we talk of independence here, we don’t mean that the child should not be dependant on his parents or even that he must create the value that he needs in life- emotional, physical and emotional- without help from his parents and other adults. After all, a life alone is no joke. Independence here means having the freedom to do one’s own thinking without interruption and choosing from many alternatives, without any external interference and opinions.

Why is this important?

Life gives everyone choices, most of which can be very difficult and unpleasant. And when it comes to them, we all have two basic options- either to do the thinking ourselves and do what feels right to us or to passively pass on the decision to another person and do as they say.

However, one cannot do this throughout their life. This is why parenting must include teaching your child to think right and make the right decisions. Parents should help them practice this art of knowing how to determine what is good for them, and what is not. After all, you can’t be an athlete by looking at others running, you have to go out there and start running for yourself!

In some cases, you would have done better to take the advice of more experienced and wise folks, such as parents, there’s no doubt about that. But then, this ease would come at the cost of experience. After all, one cannot rely on having good advisors throughout life! So parenting must involve encouraging the children to think for themselves so that they can become happy, well-adjusted adults.

Everybody uses advice when they have to make important decisions at any age in life. However there are points in life where what you decide could lead to a turning point in the way your life will go. In this case, if one hasn’t had the practice of making their own decision, then they’re likely to face a hard time. Performance in good decision-making depends on whether, like the athlete, you’ve trained hard or stayed on the sidelines.

You will make mistakes if you do your own thinking, rather than listen to those who are experienced and more knowledgeable than you. This is completely true. And yet, this process starts you on a course where you learn your own limitations, making you more experienced and deliberative. After all, knowing what you do in hindsight, it’s easier to correct your own mistakes. And failing after following your own decision ultimately holds lesser regret than failing through following blindly.

Many parents do not want to see their kids make mistakes, especially when their own experience and insight tells them that the decisions are wrong and will have bad consequences. This desire to always coddle your child is something no parent grows out of, and leads to frustration, especially when you’re handling teens. This is why parenting is not an easy task, and requires a lot of courage! You’ll have to grin and bear it, if your child is to have a healthy emotional and mental development.

Kids grow up very fast, and will soon be under pressure of making weighty decisions that determine how their lives will go. It is your duty as a parent to ensure that they are prepared for this, by encouraging them to start right form childhood. After all, practice does make perfect!