Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Independence Agenda

The ideal: for children to take independence rather than to be pushed into it

#1 challenge: the aspects of life that the parent has baggage about with independence. For one parent it might be wanting child to be in own bed asap, for another it might be wanting child to start using toilet asap, for another it might be wanting to stop breastfeeding asap or send child to school asap etc etc. How to step back from the irrationality of one's response to a particular area of offspring dependence? Advice please.

#2 challenge: advice wanted for when an area in #1 correlates with an area that friends or relatives are concerned about. Not only is a parent anxious about child not doing X yet, but others are communicating their anxiety about it too. What to do? Easy to deflect such anxiety in others when it is in an area about which the parent is not anxious for independence asap themselves.

#3 challenge: how to balance making opportunities avaiable to a child versus pushing them into something before they are ready. If a child never sees a bike, they'll never know they might want to ride one. But if parent tries to push them onto a bike before they feel happy to try it, they'll put the process back by days/weeks/months. This is not about bicycles, they are a silly hypothetical. How to judge the difference between making something available and pressuring someone? How to find ways of making something (which has been a pressure point in the past) available without pressure?

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