Do you trust your kids?
It’s a cloudy, wet day. I am writing this post while waiting for an oil change in my car – alone. While my daughter is at home, 2 miles away – alone. Why am I telling you this? I am telling you of my trust in her. I trust my daughter. Even at her young age, I trust her. I trust that she won’t trash the house, I trust that she won’t eat a bunch of junk food, get into things that we have set limits on or burn the house down – all of which are good things to know that she won’t do.
But after watching other kids her age, even older than her, not acting appropriately (ok, they were acting like wild animals), it makes me wonder if my husband and I have an anomaly on our hands. A naturally mature, good-hearted child. Or is it the years that we have invested in her? The small, menial tasks that we worked on, that has led us to this point – that I know that I can leave for 1, 2, even 5 hours – and I know that everything will be ok at home and with her.
I am assuming it’s a bit of both.
I recently read an article by Annie Holmquist “Never too young to learn responsibility“, it was telling of young children, around the ages of 4 and 5, doing errands – alone. No adults to hold their hand and make sure they were doing what they needed to do. I also remember years ago, I saw a video of a young boy in Japan, approximately 6 years old. His daily routine had him preparing for school, walking for miles then taking a train to his final destination all by himself. Then when done for the day he would retrace his steps back home. The majority of his day was spent alone in the middle of a busy metropolis.
What do both of these have in common? Responsibility on the child’s side? Yes. But also trust on the parents’ side. The parents of these children must have trust in their children. Much like people in a committed relationship that have trust in each other to be faithful, parents need to be able to trust their children. And with that trust comes freedom. A freedom that some parents would scoff at, some may even consider it neglect.
But it is not just a freedom for the child, it’s a freedom for the parent also. The freedom for the child comes in the form of being able to understand their value. To grow as their own person and learn who they are. The freedom for the parent comes in a different form. A bit scary at first, to watch your little one that you have protected for so long leave that secure space. But once you see your child flourish, it’s all worth it. You then have the freedom to enjoy them as a person, not just as your child. You get to see a glimpse of who they will become, and it all came, because you trusted them.