6 ways to give your children the freedom they need!
“Treat a child as though he already is the person he’s capable of becoming” says Haim Ginott, a popular Israeli child psychologist. Giving the children this kind of freedom is not just good for them, but for the wellbeing of the entire family. Democratic parenting is known to contribute to the best type of interaction within the family.
Recent research in parenting backs this fact with evidence. The study published in the Child Development Journal revealed that families that gave monitored autonomy, experienced better emotional bonds and greater fulfillment of their own needs. Psychology Today reported a study conducted in Germany on children aged between 6-19 years that revealed an improved attention span in online classes for children and better productivity at work for parents after implementing a more democratic parenting style.
Experts suggest that children today need preparation for the future rather than protection. This preparation is best ensured when children are given enough freedom to discover the world around them.
Here are six ways of giving them a choice-within-limits type of freedom where they learn, enjoy and contribute to family’s wellbeing.
- Trust them in day-to-day activities. Walking to school or catching a bus for example should be allowed if your child is old enough and is willing to take that journey alone. Giving such freedom will boost a child’s confidence, increase the scope of greater learning and improve interest in taking responsibilities and reduce your work in child care. Trusting your child is the first step towards giving children the much-needed freedom.
2. Encourage them to be independent. Be it tying shoelaces or brushing teeth, teach them how it is done and once they learn, let them take over the activity. Do not do their job for them. Involve them in simple household chores. Give them the responsibility of keeping their room clean, washing their plate after a meal or organising their study table. Don’t forget to applaud a job well done. This will reinforce their will to take up more responsibility.
3. Allow them to make mistakes. That is the best way to learn. The person who has never made mistakes is one who never learnt anything. Help them learn from their mistakes. Ensure that mistakes don’t create fear of learning new things. Normalise making mistakes as long as they take back their lesson with them. Mistakes should be met with learning and not with punishment in order to develop a positive attitude in children towards their own mistakes.
4. Send them across the street to buy things from a shop nearby or to see a friend after they have gained confidence with the rules of the street. While it is undoubtedly important to ensure child safety, parents must realise that risks are inevitable. Taking calculated risks will help people change from being mere on-lookers in life to being go-getters.
5. Let them make choices. As a responsible parent you must definitely warn them of the consequences of every decision, but leave the decision to them. This will help children understand right from wrong and build a habit of making informed decisions.
6. Provide them with opportunities to express their thoughts and emotions. Kids ask a lot of questions when they are learning. In this process, they must be allowed to express themselves in various forms with an assurance of help whenever they get stuck. Removing the fear of judgment works well in two ways — they explore learning opportunities without hesitation and learn not to judge others about their ways of thinking.
Giving children freedom within the scope of guided parenting is a way of raising independent individuals who in turn look after the wellbeing of their family. With the right amount of freedom, parents need not always be preoccupied with child care and raising them with the right freedom contributes to a better experience to the family as a whole. Parents not only enjoy giving attention to other aspects of life but ensure they are good parents too!