A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the importance of teaching our children to be autonomous.
Let me relate it to you like this and then I will share with you six steps to teaching children how to be autonomous.
It's amazing what a week of two families sharing a house can teach you. Recently while on vacation with very close friends of ours something came to my attention. I noticed that our families operate with almost opposite dynamics in some regards. I noticed that even though our girls are a bit older they are much more autonomous. I think this is for several reasons and at this point it is neither positive or negative.
I noticed that their children asked, "Mom can you get me a glass of water?" As to where our children just got a glass of water. Again, neither is right or wrong at this point. It only brings me to ponder at what point should that stop?
I realize that with young(er) children our roll as parents will be more "hands on"; meaning that we will physically have to do more for our children. The question is: when and how do we begin to instill autonomy into our children in a healthy manner?
Mazlish and Faber propose six steps to teach our children how to become appropriately autonomous.
1. Let children make choices
2. Show respect for a child's struggle
4. Don't rush to answer questions
5. Encourage children to use sources outside the home
Don't take away hope.
These steps will be much more difficult to put into practice then one might think. How often are we short with our children because they don't do things quick enough? How often do we step in and "rescue" our children when we see them struggle? How often do we try to protect our children from the discomforts of life. Take a moment and think about these things. Then think about how you are teaching your children to be autonomous. When will you start? How will you teach them?