You can find serenity in teaching your children to be independent, but be child-specific in your lessons.
A person who is independent is not controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct or thinking. Often children get into trouble that lasts a lifetime because instead of being independent thinkers, they don’t have the heart to stand up and do the right things. Independent children are more likely to do the right thing and less likely to succumb to negative peer pressure. This happens to children of all ages. Check out the following examples:
- Toddlers filling the toilet with toilet paper and toys
- Elementary school students drawing on the walls in the bathroom
- Middle school students sneaking off to smoke
- High school students experimenting with drugs and sex
These are small examples of things kids can do to get into a little trouble just by listening to their friends, by not exercising independent judgment and thought. Keep in mind that children who do not learn to think independently and resist negative peer pressure as children, grow up to get into increasingly more serious trouble. The trouble may never be legal trouble, but failing to be able to think and act independently leads to a life less satisfying than life could be. It might help to think of teaching independence similar to teaching a child to read. No one gives the typical two-year-old a volume of Shakespeare’s collected works. Instead, the typical two-year-old is given the alphabet, then puts the letters together to make words, then books which increase in level of difficulty. Independence should be taught the same way, small lessons that build on one another.
While teaching children to be independent, one must keep in mind that each child is an individual and learns at different paces and with different motivations. This fact is hard for some parents to understand. The thing that made it real to me that each and every child is an individual is the fact that my twins who were breastfed and always ate at the same time had different colored bowel movements! That experience made it crystal clear to me that each child is different and reacts to the same events in different manners. As a result, one child may learn each lesson after one try while another must be shown the same ideas repeatedly.
It doesn’t matter how many times it takes to get the lesson learned. The important part is that the lesson is learned. When your children learn to be independent, to think for themselves and to be responsible for their thoughts and actions, your life as a parent will be better. It is worth the effort it takes to make your child an independent thinker.
In conclusion, you can find serenity in teaching your children to be independent, but be child-specific in your lessons. So, the question for you this serene day is how do you teach your children to be independent?