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Freedom for Kids

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Freedom is everyone’s birth-right; and parents often are torn between how much freedom they need to give their kids owing to their safety concerns, fears and insecurities towards their children.

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Age-wise Appropriateness: The biggest conflict to decide how much freedom to give is because of the “conservative’ and “liberal” dynamic in parenting. At every stage and age the amount of freedom a child is given varies. For instance, a toddler needs constant adult supervision whether at home or outdoors; whereas, a young child between the ages of 6-12 years, can be allowed to be out with a familiar peer group. As children grow, you may have to have a dialogue with them explain how freedom comes with a responsibility. You can always keep a check on them through messages and phones to know their whereabouts and some deadlines won’t harm. Thus, your discretion at every stage and age of their physical/mental/emotional development would decide the appropriate amount of freedom they need and how much you can support and guide them.

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Establishing Boundaries:  Freedom does not imply shirking responsibilities and being a nomad. Children often feel ‘free’ to do anything they want because they are allowed to do whatever catches their fancy. As they grow up and begin to understand the world, they need to make their own choices and to make mindful decisions in any situation, you need to communicate the ‘why’s” and “why not’s”. For instance, making a child understand why they are being told to be indoors or to be home within a certain time. Inviting school/college/colony friends over and going to theirs at odd hours or wearing risqué clothing while they are out with friends are something they consider ‘being free-minded’ or cool. It’s not about what they are doing; it’s about the mentality with which they are doing certain things. Inculcate Independence and Self-Reliance and check on how responsible they can be in any given situation. Time-management, space management, completing their assignments within deadlines all reflects on how prepared they are to eventually be on their own.

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Keeping Them Rooted:  It helps to share your own experiences and how despite some rules being there, you enjoyed your freedom and youth. Today, many children, especially teens are in a hurry to experience everything as soon as they can and want instant gratification. The reasons could be peer pressure and the need to fit into a group, to look cool and be ‘in’ with the times. Kids are also highly impressionable because of the celebs they admire from a young age and dream of a life as glamorous as theirs. It’s essential to give your child a reality check. This does not mean binning their dreams or goals but to nurture those and helping them pursue those which are within their capacity and physical/mental/emotional makeup. They will eventually begin to see things the way they are rather than the way they ‘should’ be. Avoid cushioning them from hurt or telling them stories about good/bad people or it being a fair/unfair world. Freedom means allowing your child to make mistakes so they can ‘grow up’.

Which are some of the ways that allow a child to enjoy their freedom and be free-minded? Share your views with us and get featured on the blog.

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How much freedom is essential for your child’s development?

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Freedom is an integral part of a child’s growth and sometimes the most vital attribute, as it decides the child’s confidence levels, interpersonal interactions and overall personality. Here are some freedoms which are essential for every kid.

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Freedom to be Themselves

Nurture your child’s individual tastes and preferences; these are his unique traits which define his personality in the long run. Let them discover their strengths and reach out to them if they are struggling with a weakness. This sort of emotional support and encouragement helps the child stand by what they believe in. However, keep a check that your child doesn’t go overboard or be over-confident with an “I am always right” attitude without considering the needs of others.

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Freedom to Express

Home is a child’s space to ‘be’; cry, laugh, dance, play – so let them express their innermost feelings without stopping them or calling them ‘naughty’ or ‘cry baby’ as assigning labels creates a negative psychological impact on their tender minds. So drop the need to over-analyse and just accept & soothe your child’s emotional outbursts and let your home be a healthy space for all kinds of outlets. This ensures your child won’t have embarrassing public displays or engage in attention seeking behavior.

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Freedom to Play

This is the most underestimated freedom as there is a lot of pressure on kids to excel academically and in all curricular activities at school. One of the most basic human rights for kids is to play and psychologically speaking, it is the most essential as it frees child from strict concepts and allows room for creativity. It introduces an element of fun and playfulness. Scientifically, after playtime children feel mentally refreshed and are in a better frame of mind to study. This freedom also includes ‘freedom to choose games and hobbies’ as many times parents decide which activity child ‘should’ engage in. Allow your little one to follow his heart and play whatever brings them inner joy. Playtime is solely for personal happiness and need not have any professional gains.

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Balance between Freedom & Supervision

Balance is the key to let your kid evolve into a sensitive and sensible kid. Let your child exercise freewill but supervise them to ensure that when they stumble, they will be well-supported by you in every way possible. Also ensure that enjoying freedom need not mean shirking responsibility and getting away with doing anything but in fact taking complete accountability of their actions. For instance, if your child is only interested in playing with friends and ignores schoolwork completely or plays with toys in the living room but expects you to pick them up than you could probably talk to them about having a more well-rounded approach for their interests. This helps them remain rooted and become more responsible.

Which are some of the ways your child enjoys freedom? How does it help him evolve? Share your story with us and get featured on the blog.