Importance of giving Freedom to Kids
“Children should have enough freedom to be themselves-once they have learned the rules”
quotes Anna Quindlen (an American author).
The question here arises is that do we as parents follow this? Many would say a ‘YES’. But personally speaking its 50% of the ‘YES’. Why so?
Have we ever pondered on this question? Not deeply. Yes, but we often compare our childhood with that of our kids. I too am a parent and many a times I tend to compare the situation when I see my growing toddler.
What is freedom? The answer for this will vary for different age groups.
- For a child – having ample play time
- Teenager- having ample friends time
- Youth- having ample party time
- An adult- it’s me time and so on……
Do we give this freedom to our kids without setting any boundaries? Do we give the freedom asked without the list of rules and regulations. No we don’t.
Many may or may not agree with me. But we are at fault when we bind our kids with strict disciplinary measures. It’s when you curb the freedom demanded, children tend to break the norms set and follow their heart. It’s then that we take strict actions without understanding the reason behind it.
Our childhood was way different than our children . We had lots of play time – playing games like lock n key; kho-kho ; kubaddi; hide n seek; etc… Did we not do well academically? Getting the top rank always was not the criteria. I don’t remember my parents ever nagging me or my siblings for marks. We were always given a positive motivating reaction.
The result was that we kids worked hard on our own and passed out with flying colours. It was our own strive. Was there ‘NO COMPETITION’ then? THERE WAS. But our parents did not let us feel the pressure . Unfortunately today parents give pressure to kids. The world is becoming a competitive one so to occupy a seat here children should be capable of taking pressure and Parents find it ok if the child’s FREEDOM IS AT STAKE.
What life are we giving to our kids?
Changing with changing times is important but how you change & whether your change is having a positive impact on your surroundings is equally important. For this parents should have a proper communication system with their kids. Tell them about the changing times; show them how much you trust them but don’t impose your fears and thoughts or for that matter your desires.
Today’s kids have a set time-table to follow , not only in schools but at home too. Once they come back from school they have a time schedule for tv; ipads; play time because they have to go for their classes- swimming/ drawing/ judo/ tennis etc… our child should be an epitome of perfection. Are we so?
Related: How and Why we decided to Unschool?
Having a rhythm in life is good but a routine with no free time to be in ourself is not a good idea.
Are we giving the freedom to kids to choose an activity of their choice or prioritise the ones they like and we wish too. For that matter, don’t you think kids need that free time to be all by themselves. The outcome is ‘Jack of all traits and master of none’. If we are working parents & feel taxed that we have a list of duties ready when we step home and do not get our own space or me time, imagine how a child’s mind must be getting taxed.
Freedom is something which allows kids to take their own responsibilities.
The art of discipline should be developed from within.
Set boundaries but in a way that kids learn from them. Motivation, communication, trust all play an important role. Give gadgets to your kids and make them understand the pros and cons of its over use. Let the child decide for himself/ herself. ( remember: you cannot use it as a tool. When you give a time limit follow it. But when you have work and you don’t want your chid to disturb you, you give the gadget then the child loses the significance of the lesson taught and freedom is taken for granted).
Allow your growing teens to mingle with their friends but keep a tab on their group. Don’t be so complacent in expressing yourself modern that you feel you don’t need to divulge into your child’s life as you represent a modern time mom. That’s not modernism. Such behaviour gives rise to incidents of kids murdering; committing suicide or molestation; cyber abuse and so on….
Be a Role model
When you are out of the house call up your child/children and inform that you have reached the venue safely. Share few details. In return inculcate the same habit in your child. This way the child will not feel that you are keeping a check on his/her whereabouts and your worry is also sorted. It’s a two way communication.
Similarly discuss your friends with your child rather than asking them about their friends. Children tend to speak on their own. This type of freedom of expression will eventually build the power of thinking and understanding the right & wrong; good or bad.
Keep some family time together to play or dine together or holiday. Remember the idea here is not to give time to kids but to give quality time. Keep your gadgets away and spend time talking ; playing ; swimming with kids. When children see their parents making them feel important they learn to reciprocate. But in today’s time we take our kids for a holiday with their gadgets as we need our space too. So we then can’t complain if our kids want their own space and own freedom and ask us to allow them to live their life the way they wish too. They want freedom.
We need to remember
“It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings”.