Every parent's security blanket & instruction manual
"As parents, our need is to be needed. As children, their need is not to need us. To let go when we want to hold on requires utmost generosity and love."
-Haim Ginott, child psychologist
July 4th is Independence Day in the United States. Why not make every day Independence Day for your child? The birthright of every child is independence. It is important that we parents encourage emotional independence, social independence, and independent thinking in our child. We need to nudge our child to become their own person, fostering and encouraging their own choices in what they eat (within a healthy range), how they dress (for the weather rather than for societal approval), who they choose for friends (although we may cringe when they boss their meek friend around), and how they think (creatively and outside the box).
Children help us grow where we need to grow. When they ask us questions, it helps to ask ourselves, "Why not?" rather than "Why?" to allow them freedom of choice (within safe limits) and freedom of thought. Why not play nerf soccer in the living room? Why not put on bathing suits and run around outside in a warm summer rain? Why not mix up wild lotions and potions from water, paint, and paper? Independent exploring makes for creativity.
When my oldest child went to preschool, I was surprised to find that one of the goals of the 3-year-old classroom was to encourage independence. My mother had raised me to be dependent on her for all kinds of help, including depending on her approval; the message had been that we children were supposed to make our parents happy and tend to their needs rather than be independent and self-sufficient. I began to re-think my entire goal for my child and I began fostering her independence and strength. I read the the Haim Ginott quote and put a copy of it on my refrigerator as a reminder to myself. I then memorized the quote so that it could become a deep part of me and my parenting.
©Irene Shere, LLC