How much independence do you give your kids?
A poll of 1000 parents was asked what element of safety they most feared for their children
A parent writes, “I have a twelve year old girl who thinks she is going on twenty-one. She wants more freedom as far as going places with her friends as a group. I am questioning how much freedom do you allow a twelve year old to have? It’s always a constant struggle between us lately.”
Teaching independence isn’t always easy. It requires giving kids more choices, information, responsibility, freedom, and time. It also means occasionally gritting your teeth while they make an offbeat choice. But the effort pays back tenfold, in the form of capable children who can make their way around the world with confidence.
Independence starts at home – in your own kitchen or garden. Here’s how to set up your house to allow young children to assert their independence and strengthen new skills:
Independence doesn’t arrive one day unannounced, it’s cultivated. Have the patience to create a child who has the confidence to navigate the world, and you’ll be setting her up for a lifetime of success
A Poll of 1000 parents with teenage children said they most feared;
• Road safety - drink driving
• Unable to get a job - lack of focus
• Computer games / Internet – peer pressure
• Victim of street crime/physical violence
• Friends who are a bad influence
• Abuse by an adult or bullied
• Alcohol and drugs
Further practical concerns by parents with younger children :
• Fear of walking to school alone
• Wearing makeup / having their ears pierced
• Should they have a mobile phone
• Staying over night with a friend – and peer pressure
• Drinking alcohol at home / when they are out
• Traveling home by public transport
• Being influenced by social media and the internet
Encourage you little ones to be independent too - allow them to make a choice: there is often a debate over whether children should be given a choice or told what to do ! Childalert believe children need to experiment and get it wrong sometimes – give them a choice and let them suffer or enjoy the consequences.
For example, rather than preparing your child’s lunch, set up plastic containers full of cheese sticks, carrots, raisins, pretzels, and other healthy goodies on the lowest shelves of your refrigerator. Then let her choose among prescreened choices and pack their own lunch boxes.
Or rather than picking outfits for your son, put clothing in easy-to-open drawers, so he can begin pairing shirts with pants and getting dressed on his own.
As your kids get older let them go through the planning of a family meal, help to cook it, and to clean up afterwards.
What independence do you give your children? Are we cushioning our kids too much? Is the media making us more paranoid than we need to? Watch the video.