Indian Independence Day – the Net is filled with articles and thoughts on the subject, so I am not going to go into that. Instead I thought I would write down my reflections on the independence of children – why they need to learn independence and how we as parents can help them on their way.
As parents, we tend to cling onto our children, protecting them from every harm, shielding them from negative influences and basically, hovering around them. While this is perfectly reasonable when children are young, as they grow up, we need to learn to let go. This is something I myself am learning to do – with great difficulty, I must admit. I tend to micro-manage my daughter’s life and now she is beginning to assert her independence. At first, I did not like it at all. But of late, I have begun to take delight in her little forays into self-reliance, especially when she explains to me so wisely why it is important for her to choose what she wants to wear, what gifts she wants to give her friends, why she should bathe on her own and why she should be left to her own devices at home when I have errands to run outside. Not only is she being more patient with me than I am with her (!), she is also logically convincing me that she is right! And of course, at the end of it, you have got to love it when the kids become self-reliant, thus freeing up more of your own personal time!
So now my daughter is gradually gaining in independence, brushing her own teeth (with some surprise checks from me once in a while) and even putting herself to bed (she only demands a goodnight kiss and hug and then I must leave the room). And she is more than happy to be dropped off at a friend’s house for the whole day, only coming home to eat dinner and sleep. As she becomes more independent, I can see her gaining in confidence as well – the confidence that she can do things for herself and that she can take decisions for herself. The very process of decision-making is interesting to watch – encouraged to think through her choices and make a decision, I am happily surprised to find that her decisions are logical, well-thought out and good decisions – the kind I, as a parent, would make for her.