Raising children is one of the most challenging yet rewarding jobs we will ever undertake. Doing it well takes time, patience and a great deal of effort. On this journey, there are days that are more challenging than others but trust me, the rewards are there and they will come. Sometimes, the reward of your hard work will come at a time that will totally surprise you. You may hear your child speak in a way that you didn’t even know you had taught them, in that instance, what’s happened is they have caught something that you didn’t even know you were teaching them.
Children are great examples of ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’. They are watching you and absorbing all you do and say. You, their parents are their greatest influences at the moment. What an honour to influence a young life who is so dependant on you.
Funny that I refer to them being dependant whilst this article is all about Raising Independent Children. Why is this important and why are the ‘dependant years’ important? The time spent with your children from birth through the toddler years (the terrific two’s we like to call it), then through primary school and eventually the teen years have a lot to do with teaching them and showing them how to be independent.
As parents, the thought of our littlies going out into the big world frightens us. The first day they walk through the doors of ‘big school’ entering into Kindy can bring us to tears. Then the day they ask us if they can ‘take the bus’ rather than have us drive them to school. These conversations alone can bring many to shed a tear or even be gripped with fear of the ‘unknown’.
How do you travel through those conversations with strength? With your head held high and dry eyes? We do it by teaching our children to be independent of us. Through conversation, we equip them with the tools they need to travel from classroom to classroom, bus to bus and beyond.
One of the greatest tools I’ve used, to teach independence, through my 38 years of parenting is setting boundaries. Allow me to explain how this has worked for us:
Boundaries for Children:
Set age appropriate boundaries and talk to your children about them. Explain the why behind the what. Meaning, Why are we setting these boundaries and What can and will be accomplished through these boundaries. By doing this you give your child space to succeed and space to make the mistakes that provide room to grow and mature. Additionally, children thrive when boundaries are in place because they understand what is expected of them and the boundaries provide a framework for them to have little wins along the way which breathes confidence into their beautiful hearts and minds. Through this confidence, they find the courage to take the next step, try the next thing knowing full well their parents are there to catch them if need be.
Providing boundaries is a lovely way to create harmony in the home and allow everyone space to grow and mature whilst almost unknowingly building independence into a young life.
My hope is that this will help you as you raise your gorgeous child, who each and every day is growing into a strong, confident young person. We are honoured to part of this journey with you and that you have entrusted your child into our care because we know as the African Proverb says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child’.
Much care and love,