As a mother I’d really like to see my daughters grow up into responsible, independent adults. For them to grow up and be anything else would make me feel as though I had failed them at some point along the way. Why else do we spend every second of the day watching them and teaching them and guiding them? Certainly not to live at home forever and be dependent upon us! At least that’s not what I want for my children anyway.
One of the things I’ve learned is that it’s best to build their confidence and independence by allowing them to make reasonable decisions themselves, be responsible for their belongings and their actions, and by providing them with positive and appropriate feedback. Now what do you do when you don’t think they’ve made the best choice? Maybe they’re spending their money on junk or you don’t think they’ve chosen the best outfit? I’ve stopped myself quite a few times in the last week or two from telling my 2, almost 3, year old that her clothes do not match because I’m a little torn about what my reaction might do to her long term. Do I tell her she doesn’t match even though she’s already pointed out that she does because she has flowers on both her pants and her shirt or do I just tell her it’s lovely and she has made a great choice and get on with my day? The truth is she isn’t hurting anyone as long as the clothes are weather appropriate but what happens when she goes out in public? Our society puts a huge emphasis on appearance. Do I teach her to be conscience of these things in an attempt to protect her from the stares and snickers or do I simply let her find her own way.
I know I’ve answered my own question and that is that what’s best for her is to allow her to make these choices, especially if they’re building her confidence and bringing her satisfaction but then how do I prepare her for those who believe that even hour old babies should be well dressed and fashionable? If I were to correct my daughter when she said that her clothes matched and I believed they didn’t I’d probably do more harm than good. It’s likely that she’d be less confident and sure of herself next time and doubt her abilities to make other choices on her own. How many of you allow your children to make their own choices about how they spend their money or the choices they make about fashion? How much freedom to you give your children to just be? How much influence do you believe you or your spouse or their siblings have on the decisions they make? Are you encouraging independence?