Independence – The Best Gift That You Can Give Your Child

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All parents love their children and pamper them to some extent. The point to keep in mind, especially in today’s scenario, is that ‘are we spoiling them with all our love and attention?’ No tests are required to determine this. Just answer a few questions truthfully-

  • Do you feed your 3+ child?
  • Do you carry the school bag to the bus stop or car for your 5+ child?
  • Do you polish your 5+ child’s shoes?
  • Do you give a bath to your 5+ child?
  • Do you pick up your 5+ old child’s clothes from the floor?
  • Do you tidy up your 8+ child’s table and room?
  • Does your 6+ child still sleep on your bed?
  • Do you clean the table after your 8+ child has eaten?
  • Do you help your child with his/her school projects?
  • Do you go to your child’s school to give articles he/she has forgotten to take along?

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to any of the above, then you need to rethink your duties as a parent. You may feel that by doing one or more of the above, you have been the perfect parent. A perfect parent is not somebody the child can lean on. It is instead somebody who makes leaning unnecessary.

You are the guide, not the servant

Nowadays more and more children are turning out to be very dependent on their parents. This reflects in their later lives too. As a parent your responsibility towards your children is to make them independent.  This should start as early as possible. Some parents like to be in a denial mode about the fact that their child is growing up. But by doing so you are harming your child’s right to grow and develop. Be a guide and encourage children from time to time. You will be amazed at how much they can achieve! Children are very adaptable but the moment they realize that you are going to do everything for them, they let go. They start becoming lazy and indolent. This is a reason why we have so many overweight kids today.

Make your child confident and responsible

If your kid is too dependent on you then he or she will lack in self confidence. This will affect each and everything in their lives, right from their studies to sports and co-curricular achievements. Kids who are dependent are uncertain about taking decisions. When the kids leave the secure umbrella that you have created, they feel lost. They are unable to sort out even the minor problems in life. Often students who start out in college discontinue and return home as they are unable to cope with hostel life. From a very early age, give your child responsibilities. Let them run small errands and look after their own needs according to their age. Teach them good habits that stay for a lifetime. You do not need to nag them every time. Be firm in your approach and never give in. do not help your child with projects and other activities that he or she is supposed to do. A piece of advice here and there should suffice in encouraging him/her to work on it in the best way they can.

Foster learning by inspiring

Dependence in studies is also a common problem. Of course parents are the first teachers of the child. But remember the teacher inspires and guides and does not help to cram. Let the child study on his/her own as early as possible, with some guidance from you. If your child does exceptionally well in studies because you have helped him/her to mug up the lessons, then it is of no use. Instill the love for learning and do not stop learning by being too manipulative. Let your child take decisions. If you decide everything in their lives, then you are harming their mental development. Do not force your child to do something as this fosters a hatred for the task. Encourage instead. Make them aware of their surroundings instead of holding on to them as much as you can.

Learn when to let go. Do not keep holding your child’s hand well past the infant stage. Sometimes treat your child like an equal and you will be surprised at his/her level of intelligence. Once in a while let your child face trouble and learn a valuable lesson in life. This will embolden him/her for the future. It will teach him/her how to adjust in the society. By doing this you are not being a cruel parent, you are being a parent who cares. So, if you really care for your child, let go of the leash. Be there always but don’t be overprotective. After all it is his/her life, not yours.

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