Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mindful Parenting: Freedom

Most parents know that part of being a parent is balancing rules with privileges. But one think we often don't think about is freedom. Allowing your kids freedom in certain areas can help them grow up knowing they're loved and have a supportive family - no matter what happens.

Freedom to be different allows for self-expression, even if it's in ways that parents don't always like. Obviously there are limits, but if it isn't hurting anyone, it's pretty much ok to allow kids freedom in hairstyles, clothing fashions (as long as dress codes aren't violated), and other minor issues.

Freedom to be vulnerable allows boys to be emotional and girls to be expressive, without telling them to man up or get over it. Even if the issues at hand seem minor from an adult perspective, they can be big deals for younger kids. It's important to give them emotional support at that age so they'll be able to rely on parents for support when big issues arise.

Freedom to be honest means that kids can make tough statements when they don't agree with things. This allows for dialogue about rules and expectations, and teaches kids that it's ok not to like someone or something, as long as they handle it appropriately.

Freedom to make mistakes lets kids learn on their own. Instead of parents always stepping in, preventing kids from learning why something should be done a certain way, the kids learn using natural consequences the results of decisions.

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