Do you want your child to grow into an independent adult one day? Who doesn’t want that, right? How you can do that is most likely what you think you should do.
It is common thinking among parents that If a child is too attached to his (or her) parents, he will have a harder time making the journey towards independence that all children must make. However, emerging research suggests that far from hindering a child’s growth, strong parental attachment actually fuels it.
A child’s journey from being a completely dependent infant to being a self-sufficient adult is in many ways biologically predetermined. You will notice that your toddler is beginning to want to make his own decisions. By the time he is a teenager, he will want to run his own life. Some will do it better than others, and this is not about intelligence but about attachment.
Attachment is the bedrock of independent thinking. When children are not deeply attached to their parents, they tend to lack a sense of leadership—and love. This causes them to look elsewhere for the care they crave and leaves them more susceptible to peer pressure and other negative influences. What’s more, these kids are so distracted by worrying about what everyone thinks of them that their growth is stifled. It is, after all, hard to progress to a state of self-reliance if you’re constantly second-guessing yourself.
Fathers tend to encourage their children to become more independent than mothers do. That’s normal and good. Fathers just need to be more conscious about maintaining the relationship with their children along the way by being warm and nurturing, not critical and demanding.
By Parcsen Loke, Family Life Coach, Centre for Fathering. To reach Parcsen, please make an appointment at: calendly.com/iamparcsen.
Food for Thought: What are you doing to help your child become more independent?