“Freedom once given cannot be taken back “
I am a little skeptic about what the person who phrased this meant. In utmost honesty, I can most relate it with the management of the domestic staff. Or perhaps it means the freedom a nation wins to self-govern.
Today, When I hold my toddler close to my heart and don’t let my watchful eye off him even when he sets himself free from my arms, I am reminded freedom is an aspect of child-rearing.
Autonomy is a significant attribute of human life. The conflict between autonomy and dependence begins as early as when a child reaches Toddler age.
By 18 months of age a child tries to assert his independence by walking away from his caregiver, playing with his toys on his own, performing chores by himself.
Autonomy v/s doubt
If he is encouraged and supported in the right way, he develops a sense of autonomy, self-confidence and independence.
On the other hand if the child constantly fails at what he tries or is overtly protected by the people around he develops a sense of shame and begins to doubt his abilities.
In my opinion the role of parent is to foster independence by encouragement and support. At this stage a parent plays a very crucial role in a child’s development. A child must be allowed to perform tasks by himself. At the same time parents must provide adequate support and encouragement in case the child fails at a particular task. For example, child can be allowed to wear his own shoes , put on his t-shirt, in case he is not able to do the task a parent can support him by assisting him.
Independence is a virtue I’d want to instill in my child. Being able to take his own decisions, being able to solve his problems, being self-reliant and self-sufficient yet not self centered or selfish is how I visualise my son to be.
As he nears three years of age, I am giving him the space to transition into his own person; to actively make his own decisions and find out for himself the consequences within safe parameters. I say – I want to raise an Independent child.
I also realise, there is a fine line between freedom and Independence when it comes to raising a child.
If a child is free to do what he wants, go where he wants without parental guidance, he’d be “free”, but how independent is he? What if he is reliant on others to meet all his needs.
On the other hand, if my boy is independent and does all his chores by himself but is deprived of freedom (watched over at all times), he is likely to feel suffocated.
So I cannot raise an independent boy unless Freedom is given!
A common fear that parents have is that their child will run wild or may misuse his independence if too much freedom is given. Being a young mother, I can confidently say, this fear haunts a parent of a child as young as two years of age.
But if freedom is granted and is backed with unconditional love, undying support, trust and confidence, it becomes a gift from the parent to a child.
By the same token, a resentful child will find a way out to dodge the rules that are laid upon him.
As they say parenting is a tough job. Being able to set safe parameters and to be able to judge When my boy has got the licence to be an independent young man is not going to be a cakewalk. But I am up for the challenge.
I am little unsure about freedom but Independence is all of his own and I can’t imagine wanting to revoke it.
This blog post is a part of #LetsDiscussFreedom Blogathon. I would like to thank Sonam who blogs at http://sonavitiwa.blogspot.in for introducing me. I would now like to introduce Aparna, who blogs at https://toyingwithbaby2017.wordpress.com and recommend you to read her views on the prompt, ‘What Does Freedom Mean To You’.