o you tell your kids things like,“ I know whats best for you, so just do it” or “Do as I say”, instead of teaching them to make their own decisions?
Though its normal to think you know best and that you have seen life ’s trials and tribulations, its important to teach your kids how to make their own decisions.
Why do parents thrust their wishes on kids ?
It could be because they are worried that kids may make bad decisions or even worse, that the child’s decision will reflect badly on them.
Parents may also be apprehensive about letting their kids explore life on their own because they have a deep-rooted fear of failure.
No matter how much you love your children and want to do everything for them, creating an atmosphere of dependency can be destructive. As parents, it is important that we nurture our children’s independence and empower them to make decisions on their own. This will help them develop the confidence they need to navigate life's challenges.
Parents can sometimes force their importance in their children's lives by:
- Being overprotective: It was very easy for Malvika to have everything planned when she was in school but as she grew older and began to explore her options, her parents refused to let her make any decisions on her own and she could not take that anymore. When parents are overprotective, they can create a sense of dependence in their children. This can lead to children feeling like they need their parents to solve all their problems for them. For example, not allowing children to play outside or explore the world on their own can create a sense of dependency on parents for safety and protection.
- Not allowing them to make mistakes: Every parent wants the best for their children but sometimes over-showing your concern by not letting them make any mistakes can be damaging. This will only make them feel like they are not capable of making good decisions and make them dependent on you for all their life choices.
- Setting unrealistic expectations: Shaheen's parents have a habit of scaling her interest according to their expectations and when she cannot meet them, they start working on her character which affects her self-esteem and confidence. When parents set unrealistic expectations for their children, they can create a sense of pressure and obligation for their children to meet those expectations. This can cause children to feel like they need to please their parents in order to be loved or accepted. For example, pressuring children to always get straight A's, excel in sports or extracurricular activities, or follow in their parent's footsteps can create a sense of pressure to please their parents and meet their expectations.
- Not allowing independence: Nyasa said she wanted to take a break after 12th because she wanted to figure out what she wanted to do with her life, but her parents refused to let her take a break and instead told her she had to go to college right away. When parents do not allow their children to make decisions for themselves, they can create a sense of helplessness in their children. This can lead to children feeling like they cannot do anything without their parent's approval or guidance.
- Making decisions for their children: Little Shanu has her exams coming up and her parents have been very tense, she can hardly breathe with the timetable they have created for her. This can be extremely detrimental to a child’s confidence and sense of self-worth. When parents make decisions for their children without giving them a say, they can create a sense of powerlessness in their children. This can lead to children feeling like they have no control over their own lives. For example, not allowing children to make decisions about their own clothing, hobbies, or friends can create a sense of helplessness and lack of control over their own lives.
- Belittling their children's achievements: Ali has been winning football matches he plays in his community with his team but his parents don't see it as something worth praise. They feel he is wasting his time, this can cause children to feel unvalued and not good enough in their parent's eyes. When parents belittle their children's achievements or criticize them for not meeting their expectations, they can create a sense of inadequacy in their children. This can lead to children feeling like they need to prove themselves to their parents in order to gain their approval or affection. For example, criticizing a child for getting a B grade or not winning a competition can create a sense of inadequacy and a need to constantly seek parental approval.
Tips to raise independent kids
We can start by involving our children in the decision-making process as early as possible. Ask them to participate in conversations about their daily routine, such as what they want for dinner or what activities they would like to do during the weekend. Invite them to give their opinion on matters that affect your family and make sure you consider their ideas and take their feelings into account. This will not only help them learn how to think critically but also show them that their opinion matters.
It is also important to provide our children with opportunities to develop autonomy. Give your kids responsibilities around the house such as helping with chores or cooking a meal. Allow them to make mistakes and learn from them, rather than jumping in to fix everything. Doing this will help your children gain confidence and realize that they can tackle difficult tasks on their own.
Finally, let go of the need to always be right or have control over every situation. Avoid micromanaging them and give them space to explore different interests and activities. This will teach your children how to be resourceful and figure things out on their own
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