Raising an Independent Child

Photo Credit: Passive Income Dream.com via flickr

A New York Times Motherlode column titled, “Confessions of a Mother Who Couldn’t Say No” got me thinking about what exactly the function of “no” is.

It turns out those of us who don’t have the luxury of being able to smother our kids all day long, may actually be OK mothers, too. I’m fostering independence in my child because I have to – not necessarily because I choose to.

My child is 2 1/2 years old. He is really coming into his personality. When people talk about the “terrible twos” they are not exaggerating – it really is a thing. Going from a little being who was happy to be carried around and directed every moment of the day, to one who is learning how to exercise free will is pretty challenging – for the parent.

Times columnist Sarah Buttenwieser claims, “Had I been able to comprehend the part about how critical it is to foster a little more dispassion in myself for the kids’ sakes, I think we’d all be happier now.”

She concludes:

‘To disengage is a struggle — for me. But I remind myself that if I can’t learn to let go now, I’ll be unequipped to support the kids when they (not long from now) go anyway. Despite my subversion of it for all these years, I deeply value their independence. It’s time to place my faith in them in practice, not simply in theory. With a long way still to go, at least I finally believe my attempts to nurture independence to be sincere.”

I know that my child is going to need to grow into his own little being. He already has his own personality and drive. I did too, as a child. I am constantly giving my child some space – by giving myself some space. For example, right now my child is playing alone in his bedroom – because I put him there. He’d much rather be in the family room with me, I’m sure. I need space and peace to get some work done, so he’s in his room…
Read more: Maria Guido, mommyish.com

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