If you analyze the daily news it's hard to prepare yourself for your child's outgoing. People often says that this generation of parents is super paranoid, super anxious but to be very honest you can not really give them the complete freedom that they want, in this dangerous world. Plus, you can't really expect the child to be reasonable all the time for all the things they do. So it doesn't make any sense to give them the freedom, just because they want it when they don't
My child would love to have a freedom of not eating anything, but obviously he can't have it. A teenager might want to have a freedom of going out at off hours but no sensible parents would allow it.
I would love to see my son playing in the park with his friends on his own and coming back home alone by crossing the road. But then what about those stories about Children getting lured with chocolates and getting abducted. What about those accidents which happens when the child runs in the middle of the road. When you send him to a camp miles away from you, what about the possibilities of abuse or accidents? The thought eludes met! But at the same time I also question myself about his self control? What about the real freedom he needs and wants? Am I not trusting him enough with his life skills? Now I have to think at what cost? How, when and why it is affecting his senses? Would it be leading to emotional backdrop?
So to answer these questions I need to understand the actual difference between FREEDOM AND INDEPENDENCE??
FREEDOM: is to be free to do what you want without any constraints.
INDEPENDENCE: is the state of self awareness and self determination.
Freedom and Independence are the 2 ideas of thee same coin of self awareness. I believe our children needs to be independent than to be free to do what they want to do.
At the age of 10 I did my first solo traveling and that was commendably beneficial. Ofcourse this means, I had the freedom of going alone but before hand I had to learn how to be independent. In simple word, you can have the freedom of going out alone, but you should be self aware, self confident and independent of any supervision.
How much INDEPENDENCE your child exactly wants?
Independence is such a relative term. You can't really define who wants to be independent in which sense.
You can't give freedom to your toddler to run around the park , but they can go to the neighbors house for a play date.
For a teenager, you cant give them freedom to buy what they want, but at least you can provide them enough pocket money to buy the essentials according to their will.
How giving independence helps them?
You may not want to allow your child for a camp few miles apart but an overnight stay to a friend's house would help him in making himself reliable and self confident.
With the selective independence, they may do things without any supervision but they may also learn their boundaries and limitations.
When you allow them to do certain things on their own, it may help to improve their decision making abilities.
Making them independent means making them equally responsible for the things they are doing.
How to know about how much independence your child needs?
I think parental instincts work wonders when it comes to know what your child want.
It's good to push your limits but when it comes to a child I would prefer the safety !!! You have to be self reliant to do your own stuff without any intervention.
If your child wants to have a freedom to be alone for few days, he must be independent to cook for himself or to do other stuff on his own. You can expect this from a teenager before giving him this type of freedom.
The other side of the story:
I am acutely aware that without a little freedom it's illogical to expect them to be independent. Hovering all the time may affect their self esteem. So it's very important to understand the needs of Children in terms giving them freedom.
So moral of the story is I would prefer to make my child independent first before giving him the freedom he wants!!! Before giving freedom prepare them for freedom!!
Also read: You Are Your Child’s First Teacher
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