Posts Tagged 'Chidlren'

Kids… just let them be themselves…most of the time

Individuality.  The battle to preserve it is unending it seems in today’s world, but it is also of unlimited value. We need to have different ideas and unique happenings in the world, but that only happens if people are free to be themselves, if they have their individuality.

We live in a world where everyone wants to be admired and liked.  We live and we pursue rest and relaxation, not struggle and effort to work through our challenges and setbacks.   Struggle and effort, courage to express a different opinion, time to reflect upon your own thoughts to even find that opinion… who has time or energy for it?

We all need to fight those temptations, the temptation to go along with everyone else.  The temptation to let time slip away while we take that unnecessary blissful nap or watch just one more movie or play one more video game or computer game, (whatever your vice may be).  If we don’t learn to fight them, what will our children do?

We look at our children now, and we simply love them.  We as parents know that each one is different and special and beautiful and precious.  We love them just as they are.  That is the love of parents for their children.

Do we accept them as they are until the end?  Most parents probably do, but do our actions really tell our children that?

Children are living in an adult world.  They have to abide by the adult rules and ways of doing things.  Do we always make these rules with their nature and best interest in mind?  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think parents need to be parents and make clear boundaries for children, but sometimes I think many adults these days expect way too much from children and children end up feeling like failures, like something is wrong with them.  Maybe sometimes there are medical issues and that is the case, but I think that it is usually the other way around.  When we let our kids feel that they don’t measure up to our adult standards, we are the  failures; there is something wrong with us.  

There are many subjects to which this can be applied, but one of my personal areas has been with my son’s sleep habits.

He is a very sensitive boy. He does not go sleep so easily, especially if I am around.  He goes down easier with his baby-sitter.  Many nights I do not get all the sleep I would have liked because he has kept me awake or kept waking himself up when he realizes he is alone.  He is a very sensitive boy, that is part of who he is.   Even though my life might be a little easier, a little more restful with him less sensitive, I don’t want him to be any other way.

This why I feel so strongly against the “cry it out” “method” of getting babies to sleep through the night.  It puts the parents’ “needs” over that of  the child’s needs.  Of course parents do need time to themselves and babies do need their sleep, but not at the expense of making babies feel abandoned.   Is it natural for a mother to stand by and listen to her child cry?  It isn’t like the crying they do when they want a specific toy or even when they fall down and get hurt.  They cry expecting their mother to come and get them.  It is  message telling the mother that they need them, and it is something that needs to be answered.  When that cry is not answered with understanding, babies and children, (who are very capable of feeling), feel abandoned, unworthy of our time and attention, and unimportant.

Another areas where this is especially applicable is in the area of behavioral expectations in public schools and the drugs that are used to produce this desired behavior.  Not to say that sometimes there are not medical problems, but when a society uses drugs (I am speaking specifically of Ritalin), as much as ours now does to see to it that children do well academically (get good grades)… something is wrong.

Children teach us how to enjoy life.  We need to let them live their childhood, not according to adult rules.  They do need rules, but perhaps we as the adults and the caregivers need to give more consideration to the nature of children before we harbor unrealistic expectations and try to enforce difficult rules.

We need to find ways to let them be themselves so that they can keep their individuality and bring greater richness to the world.  Of course they need to have boundaries and consistent limitations, but they also need to be accepted for who they are so that they have the fundamental confidence to have the courage and ingenuity to test those boundaries.  It is when we test our limits and test what is taken for granted that we really reach out and bring newness to the world around us.

There are many avenues to open up for individuality.  Listen to them and cook the foods they like.  Learn how to help them go to sleep peacefully, whether it be by reading, being sung to, being rocked or held, etc.  Learn about their own individual likes, hobbies they enjoy, their dreams, their hopes, their thoughts and secrets, even their pet peeves.

The decisions they will make in the future and how much trust they will have in us as parents depend on how we treat them today.  As the saying goes, “Our children are our future.”  Shouldn’t we invest in our future?


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