Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Independence Day

As parents, we really want our children to grow up to be amazing adults....that's the main goal, right?  One of the important attributes to be successful in adulthood is confidence.  The easiest way as parents to help instill confidence is to give your children a sense of independence.  So on this week of the 4th, when we Americans are celebrating our Independence Day, I'd like to talk to you about why independence in children is so important.

Giving your child a good sense of independence is very important because it gives them so much more than just confidence; a sense of pride in a job well done, joy in their pride, and a 'can do' attitude.  Independence doesn't start on that first day of Kindergarten or that first time they use the potty alone.  Independence starts in infancy on that first night they sleep through the night without you and the first time they don't get upset when you leave the room.  There are so many ways that you, as a parent, can give your child a little gift of independence.  It will be one of the most difficult things to do as a parent....allowing your child to experience something without you.

When they are babies, allow the nice lady next to you at church to hold your little one.  Let your cousin take your little one into the next room at holiday gatherings without following behind.  Giving them the knowledge that other people can be safe, and that Mommy will always come back, will help them become happier babies because their sense of security will be so strong.

As toddlers, let them test their limits.  As long as they are safe, let them run down that hallway without you.  Their sense of self and security will soar!  They will also start deciding not to run after a while when they know you won't chase them, which will help greatly when it's important for them to stay close.  Let your toddler poor their own milk or get their own snack out of the pantry.  Give them that sense of accomplishment.

If you have family members that want to take your 3 or 4 year old for a night, let them do that.  Even though it's so hard to relinquish that parenting power, it's very important for your kids to have experiences without you.  To foster those good relationships with family members is so important.  Those memories will last forever.  It will help you when they become teenagers too because they'll know that they have someone safe to talk to when they feel they can't come to you.

Once your child is school age, let them go to sleep overs.  It will help them to feel more comfortable in the person that they are becoming.  To not have Mom and Dad watching over them all the time will help them grow.  They will be so proud, and you will too, when they come back home after an adventure.  You will get to see that you have done a good job.  You'll see that they were angels when you weren't there and that they remembered all those little things that you taught them even without having you there to remind them.

The RacDad and I decided that for Sweet Pea's 10th Birthday, we'd let her go to her first rock concert.  We bought 3 tickets so that Sweet Pea could go with her grandparents.  We knew that the experience of being at the concert and having the opportunity to 'let go' and 'be wild' without us there would allow her to grow and blossom.  We gave them all a wonderful chance to have an adventure together and enjoy one another without the constraints of Mom and Dad.  And, I have to say, that her adventure was more amazing than I could have imagined.....howling at the moon while dancing in the open air concert, listening to Heart.  Shocking my Dad when she was singing along to "Magic Man" and "Barracuda".  I wish I could have seen it.  She even had a chance to meet a local radio person from Sunny Radio.  She felt like a rock star that night!

Opening up your heart and letting your little one spread their wings will not only help them gain more independence and be comfortable with themselves, it will help you grow as a parent too.

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