Raising kids doesn’t mean creating little versions of yourself. After all, we’re not talking about machines with no free will.
If you try to do that and prevent your kids from their own self-development, you’ll be limiting them. Sooner or later, this will have consequences.
Teaching them what to think, how to be, and to believe certain truths with no questioning will make them unable to use one of the most valuable abilities they could ever have: self-confidence.
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The parable of the Sufi teacher
A Sufi teacher always told a parable at the end of each lesson, but his students didn’t always understand its meaning.
“Teacher,” a student said one day, in a defiant tone. “You always tell us stories but you never explain their meaning.”
“I’m sorry,” apologized the teacher, “but allow me to make up for my mistake by giving you a delicious peach.”
“Thank you, teacher.”
“But I would like to thank you in a worthy way. Will you let me peel the peach for you?”
“Yes, thank you very much,” the student said, surprised and pleased by the teacher’s kind offer.
“Since I already have the knife in my hand, would you like me to cut it up for you so you can eat it more comfortably?”
“I would love that, but I don’t want to abuse your generosity, teacher.”
“It’s not abuse if I offer it. I just want to please you as much as I can. Allow me to chew it up for you too before I give it to you.”
“No, teacher, I don’t want you to do that!” the disciple cried out, surprised and displeased.
The teacher paused, smiled, and said, “If I explain the meaning of every one of my stories to my students, it would be like giving them chewed fruit.”
You are the protagonist of your own life
Self-determination in kids means that whatever they chose, they will be the protagonists of their own lives, because that’s how it should be.
Even if they’re little, there’s no reason you should give them “chewed fruit.” Mistakes, messing up, and having the ability to choose must be present from early on.
It’s the ideal time to teach them good practices so they know how to manage their emotions, learn from everything they do, and know that they can get back up after they fall.
However, so many parents want to be the protagonists in their children’s lives. They tell them how to think, act, and choose.
Switching out an absolute truth for a challenge will be good for even the littlest children. It will help them make decisions, reflect, and observe what is happening.
They will begin to believe in their own capabilities, and only then will they be able to feel secure and start to face their biggest fears.
Educating isn’t creating, but allowing
Educating isn’t creating, but rather allowing children to build their own path. Consider the possibility that not allowing this may sometimes have long-lasting effects.
For example, let’s consider the young adults that get to college, clearly lacking any motivation because their parents forced them to choose a particular major.
Why not let your children fly? Why not let them pursue what they want? Maybe this is the fruit of their parents’ fears and insecurities.
But time is running out for these children, since they’re wasting it on things they’re not interested in.
All of this is why it’s necessary to give wings to your little ones’ thoughts, foster good judgment and always avoiding spoon-feeding answers.
How can you do this?
- Have your kids to do chores that don’t give them too much stress or anxiety. This way, they’ll see that they are competent and capable.
- Let them fly solo, giving them space to themselves where they feel like they have the control to find their own answers.
- Always support them, but without determining what they do. Make sure they know they can count on your support.
Before you go, learn Montessori Techniques that Can Help Handle Your Child’s Anger
It’s normal to want to raise your kids just like you were raised. However, you need to open your eyes to keep from making the same mistakes that affected you.
Always remember that educating isn’t creating, but allowing even the littlest children to believe in themselves so they can shine.
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