Raising an independently thinking child can be a blessing and a curse. You want your child to know that they can do anything they put their minds to, but, at the same time, your parenting instinct is to hold said child close and never let go!
My daughter is a sophomore in High School. From the time she was old enough to understand what we were saying to her, she asked for explanations. Not just the typical “Why?” questions. But, the “Why do I have to do it that way? Why should I do it this way and not that way?”
People asked me, “Why do you explain things to her? She’s the child, just tell her, because I’m the mommy and I said so.”
I had made the decision that I wasn’t going to be that parent. Did I occasionally say that? Yes I did. When I had a rough day and just didn’t feel like dealing with it. But, for the most part, it was much easier to explain things. Most children have issues with parting with their pacifiers. Or binky’s as I called them. We told her that the previous night was the last night with her binky. “Why?” She asked. So, we showed her the binky and where it was starting to split and tear. We told her that we didn’t want her to get hurt and we had to take it away. She looked at it, and said, “Ok.” That was it. She never asked for her binky again.
So, with that said, what are the benefits of raising an independent thinker? Here are five:
- Self confidence. They know who they are and what they want. They don’t have a fear of talking to adults and telling them what they need to do what they have to do. My daughters elementary school teachers always complimented her on how she approached them not as a student to a teacher, but, on an equal footing. She was respectful, but, she didn’t fear them.
- Determination. They know what they have to do to get what they want. They will hustle to find ways of raising money for a toy they want. My daughter offered to do extra chores for money. Birthday and Christmas money was also put away for an xBox or an iPod. Now, money is saved for concerts or conventions for her favorite singers and YouTubers.
- Planning. These children are planners! They research what they want, before going to get it. Planning goes into anything from deciding the best college for them, or what phone is the right one for their needs. Currently, my daughter is researching colleges. She’s got a binder with dividers for each college and is writing down the pros and cons of each. All out of state :(. I think momma needs to start thinking about what she wants to do when the kid is out of the house!
- Self Aware. They know who they are. Even during the tumultuous teen years, when they are struggling to discover who they are. And if they are confused? They research. They talk to others who are struggling to identify themselves. They understand that who they are has no bearing on friendships and if those friends can’t handle who they are? Then, they know that they are not friends they want to have in their lives.
- Sensitive. I know this one is a surprise. But, an independent thinker? Very, very sensitive. With the previous four benefits listed, it can be forgotten that these children still have feelings and can be hurt. By actions and words. Actions of not respecting them as individuals. Words, if their thoughts are put down and disregarded because they are a child.
With the current parental Gen X group, we started the process of becoming independent thinkers and thinking outside the box. Our parenting is very hands on, but, for the most part, from a distance. We will let our children fall, but, we’ve raised them to know when to ask for our help and when they can get up on their own.
Do you have an independent thinker on your hands? What methods do you use to let them take on the world?