Thursday, January 29, 2009

TEACHING INDEPENDENCE

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY

From TODAY, Voices
Friday January 23, 2009

By Dr James Dobson

How does a child learn to handle freedom and independence? It takes a calculated effort by his parents. Teaching your child to deal responsibly with independence is like luring him out of a five-storey window with a rope. You do it little by little, hand over hand. If you let the rope out all at once, he may plunge to the ground.

I remember a test of my own independence when I was 17 years old. My parents were going on a trip and they left me behind with permission to have some school friends stay over. I behaved responsibly while my folk were gone, but I always wondered why they took that risk. When I asked my mother about it years later, she smiled and said: “Because in one year you would be leaving for university, where you would have complete freedom. I wanted to expose you to that independence while you were still under my influence.” My mother exemplified an important child-rearing principle: She prepared me for independence.

If you have children, let them test the waters of freedom as they’re growing up, rather than thrusting them into total independence all at once. Then, when they’re on their own, they’ll know how to handle it responsibly and wisely.
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