Nowadays everyone seems to be aware of the power of thought. Many progressive parents know that an action starts in the mind first. When pondering on parents’ project to raise a child parents have thoughts and ideas on how they will do it. Most people get their first ideas on parenting from their own parents. They have images of who the child is supposed to be as a child and who the child is supposed to become as an adult. Those ideal images of a child and an adult are ideal because they live in the mind of the parent. When it comes to reality, in most cases, the real child, or real adult, which the child is supposed to become, are far from “ideal.”
The main quality of an ideal child is dependence. A child is born weak and helpless. Therefore parents are there for him: to care, to help, to teach, and to lead. The child is supposed to follow. In most cases, though, the real child resists and doesn’t want to follow. When parents face such a mismatch they try hard to fix the real child to fit their ideal image of a child. In the best case scenario parents reach their goal and the real child becomes obedient and a well -mannered dependent child, as he or she is supposed to be as children. The problem comes later, when it is time to become an adult.
The main quality of an ideal adult is independence. An adult is supposed to make his own decisions in life and those decisions are hopefully the right ones. For that purpose an adult must have already developed a set of proven criteria for judging what is right and what is wrong. However, a child who was taught to be dependent will not be able to develop that criteria. That is why it is unrealistic to expect a child to become independent overnight, after the child’s 18th birthday. He cannot make decisions, because his parents made them for him during his childhood. So the drama continues. Now parents look to fix the real grown up child to fit their image of an independent adult. But fixing the grown up is harder and parents give up, stating that their grown up is responsible for now for his own life. In the best case scenario the grown up child will find his own sources to cope with his life. But sometimes it takes twenty or more years, if not longer, for a person to finally become independent.
If parents learn this lesson they give up attempts of fixing their real child to fit their ideals. Instead, they change their ideal image of a child to match the ideal image of an adult. Independence, the quality of being an adult, becomes the quality of the child, expressed in its internal striving for independence, striving for freedom.
How to reach this goal? How to raise an independent child? The answers will come in following articles.