Insights: Freedom is essential when raising your child

Ever noticed how today’s children are outspoken and are liberal in today’s families? It is in stark contrast of how we were raised up back in the days when what dad or mum said was final.

Ever noticed how today’s children are outspoken and are liberal in today’s families? It is in stark contrast of how we were raised up back in the days when what dad or mum said was final.

However I have come to realize that the modern raising of today’s generation is an advantage to them as this helps them to grow into very strong willed adults. 

Most parents have strongly-held notions on how children should be brought up. Unfortunately, many of these notions are false and affect children negatively.

That is why in order to do your parenting job in the best way possible, we must replace false beliefs with new, more sensible ones. 

Majority of parents believe that children must not question or disagree with them. This stems from the noble rule to children to respect adults, and in particular to follow the biblical teaching, ‘honor thy father and thy mother and your days will increase in this world…’ This is quite in order and should always be so.

It is an attempt to make the child aware of the superior wisdom and experience an adult may have, drawn from the many lessons he or she has learned over the years.

However, to discourage children from questioning and disagreeing with their teachers or parents is an inefficient method of child management. There are a number of reasons for this.

1. Parents are not perfect. They cannot be right all the times. In some instances, the child could be right hence the reason they disagree with them. The mother or father who always insists on their children agreeing with them is in effect claiming that whatever they say or believe in must never be challenged merely because it is coming from a grownup.

They may not hold these beliefs so strongly if questioned by an adult but when their children question or disagree with them, it is considered disrespectful.

We need to remember that we are not perfect and will often be in the wrong. This does not, however, lower our worth as human beings.

Unfortunately, such adults are uncomfortable and ashamed of this imperfection and judge themselves by their successes and failures.

Therefore, when a child disputes their wisdom, she or he is automatically assumed to show little respect for them when in essence, the child is only showing disapproval of their thinking.

2. Silence does not mean agreement. When your child disagrees with you but you force him or her to comply with your directions, it does not necessarily mean the child actually agrees with you.

Indeed, his or her opinion may exist as strongly as ever or even more strongly just because he/she felt compelled to agree outwardly.

In such circumstances, no real change of mind has occurred, and the child is likely to cling harder to his/her opinion.

The parent or teacher, therefore, rides on an empty victory since it closes all avenues for really changing the child’s mind.

3. It makes the child dependent. When you force things down the child’s throat, it does not help the child to think independently. To prepare children for independent lives in adulthood, they have to be encouraged and they should be imparted with skills of thinking correctly.

By making every decision for the child, he or she will become dependent on you and hence, will increasingly doubt his or her own decisions.

In such a situation, the parent, teacher or adult will automatically hate this child who shows no leadership qualities, independence, and confidence.

Correct thinking can only be taught by hearing what the child has to say, regardless of what or whom it disagrees with.

Only when his or her views are in the open can they be examined and corrected. Once they go underground, they can become fixed and often extreme.

4. It asks the child to be honest. In all likelihood, a child’s disagreement stems from his sincere belief that he or she is right. He/she may be grossly wrong, but until you show this to him or her, he/she will consider his/her view right.

Therefore, when the conceited grown-up demands total agreement, he/she is really telling the child to lie to himself. An adult only needs to imagine how he or she would feel if someone forced him/her to agree to a viewpoint he/she is actually opposed to.

Rather than force our wills upon their thinking, we should recognize their right to disagree, as well as their right to be wrong.

If you cannot change your child’s mind about a certain issue, just let it rest for the moment. If you are right, he or she will eventually learn, even if it takes some time. Constantly using authority to make them agree will more likely make them comply outwardly only.

5. It diminishes a child’s reasoning power. The ability to reason is the most important tool for control of our emotions. To help the child improve, it pays to teach him or her to reason and see how he was thinking illogically.

Subscribe to The New Times E-Paper

You want to chat directly with us? Send us a message on WhatsApp at +250 788 310 999    


Follow The New Times on Google News