How encouraging your child’s free will can enhance your parenting skills
“Most people can be parents, but parenting requires certain individual growth!” To become a parent is a biological attribute from nature but parenting needs you to have experienced life and its mysteries in some way or another. Parenting used to be the responsibility of full communities and there was a reason why. The child was able to experience different aspects of life from a community. What has happened is an erosion of communities to an individualistic approach of parenting children. This has resulted in experiential poverty for children and extreme stress for parents.
What can we do?
There are no simple answers to the parenting problem that can be likened to a fire engulfing the whole world. I recognize this from personal experience. As a mother of three with a household to maintain, bills to pay and not to mention everything else; I am having to find ways to parent that fit within the mould of my time. Having grown up in Africa without parents, this is a funny paradox for me. I was so free and happy in boarding school and the communities that nurtured me that I didn’t miss my parents. On the other hand, my children seem deprived compared to my experience as a child. True parenting is availing all opportunities to enhance the child’s individualistic growth.
Parenting has become a generational curse where parents `sacrifice’ their lives for their children’s futures. The problem with this is that the children can not live their lives once they have grown up. They must pay the debt back to their parents by either looking after them or living up to their expectations. This then carries on generation after generation in which experiential poverty creates dependants rather than individuals. I understand this is how the structure of society is in the world now. Frustrating as this is, you can start parenting your children differently in your home. Start allowing them space to make their decisions, learn from their mistakes (at least you are there to pick up the pieces), encourage free will…. I know this may sound like anarchy, but I have tried and tasted this theory.
It is not too late to change
To change my parenting model, I started trying different ways of allowing the children freedom to choose. At first it was simple things such as cleaning their rooms which eventually amounted to choose whether they want to eat or not. The results are amazing, not only are the rooms always clean but they are choosing to eat more healthily with choice. I used to make juices or smoothies in the morning even when they hated them. Now I just buy everything from chocolate spread to fruit and they seem to like fruit salad with their breakfast. Parenting should not be forced on to your children. Remember how you felt when you were forced to do things!