It is the wish of many parents that their children grow up to be thinkers, independent minded, and leaders, not followers. However..........yes, there is ALWAYS a however, many parents raise their children the opposite way. They stress unquestioning obedience to their precepts. In addition to that, they want their children to conform to their societal and moral agendas. Furthermore, if their children desire to do something totally divergent from that of their familial and/or social circle, it is strongly discouraged as being "unrealistic" and/or "impractical" by the parents. The philosphy of unquestioning obedience i.e. "do it because I, THE PARENT says so", being dependent upon the majority consensus, and following the herd definitely DOES NOT an independent thinker who is a leader make. If parents want their children to be independent thinkers, they must walk the walk, not just do the talk! Do you agree or disagree?
Children need guidance from their parents. Many parents and others as well forget that there are many things that they can't always control - including how their kids think and behave. As kids develop their own ways of thinking and behaving, parents need to recognize that change and accept it.
Unquestioning obedience should be coupled with explanations that are age-appropriate. Those explanations, of course, depend on the situations or conditions involved. Explaining things to children shouldn't be about exerting power, but helping them learn bit by bit about the realities of life.
If we analyze it further, the values that parents hold influence their manner of raising their kids. Most often, unquestionable obedience without any explanation result in tantrums or grudges (if the child is older). Communication is key in addressing issues caused by such parenting rule.
To raise kids who are independent-minded and leader-like is not really about disobeying parents. It is more on learning how to think and behave well, including the way kids treat other people - which reflects how their parents raised them. Likewise, it is about parents being able to realize that their children are not merely extensions of themselves and that they need to empower their kids with life skills that will help them survive and remain to be good people in a dog-eat-dog world.
Yes, I agree with gmwilliams that parents want to raise independent thinkers and yet they demand absolute obedience from their children. These two things don't mix together. It is tough to be a parent, it is one of the hardest tasks because it is difficult to realize that our offspring is not an extension of ourselves.
I come from a very controlling family and I am working hard to see my children as individuals, spiritual beings who need my guidance but I CAN'T control them. I give them my opinions, recommendations, I explain why I see things the certain way. In extreme situations I had to step in to save them from danger. Most of the time, however, I explain why walking nude is not accepted in this country or why people say thank you and please. I ask and offer but if they choose not to take my advice I have to remind myself it is not me but my daughters who pay the consequences.
I plan to teach my kids about all religions, and beliefs. As long as they can tell me why they want to do something and think it out, I'll be happy with most of what they choose. But they won't get a free ride, either.
Often, though, even as adults, we know we want to try to do something, but we really can't see the road all that clearly. We can perhaps envision the end result we want but might not have a clear vision of how to go about it. That comes with experience.
I like the idea of having someone explain why they want to do something. It helps them sort out the details in their own mind a bit.
If they can work out a way of irritating you they will probably go with that.
Chips off the old block.
If you reach your children a well rounded view, involve them in family discussions, teach them to accept people who look different to them (ie everyone) and lead by example you hopefully will have a child who grows to think before they act. Plus they need to be able to make mistakes too.
Children must have the right to think freely if they are going to be leaders parents have a difficult choice to make that requires balance so their children can grow.
Parents who don't understand a lifestyle choice or career endeavor made by their children have more of a tendency to be negative about it. My parents told me I could do anything I wanted (in the arts) as long as I had a real job 'just in case'. This sends a mixed message.
Regarding the last part of your post, my parents said the same thing. Our parents were Depression era children who grew up to believe and worship job security. Yes, I was told I could have an artistic/creative career but to have a "secure" job-not!
True. I've seen (and heard) too many parents who just yell at their kids when the child doesn't understand why he's asked or told to do something. So the kid is yelled at, then feels rejected, then acts out for more attention from the parent who's not giving it but just yelling all the time. So sad.
Exposure to different cultures, hands on helping others is the best way. I find though I am international and well versed my own county does not provide diversity as it is "high income" . I'm in the process of leading by example best.
I agree, but as someone mentioned, not all parents are independent thinkers nor want to be. They believe their way of thinking is the best way to think (and live).
Even reading through some of the forums here, I can understand why there are so many children with behavior issues. They are lacking good role models.
I think there is nothing more unfortunate than bringing a child into the world only to make sure the child does not learn to think and make decisions on his own.
There is so much potential in a child if parents would help children learn how to think and not tell them what they should think.
Thank you and I concur with you a millinillitrillion times. Yes, there is such a number, I googled it!
I completely agree with that. I'm seeing that a lot on here- parents who think they know everything and therefore forcing children to bend to their will. As if they have all the answers just because they're adults and any alternatives are simply unsuitable. From my browsing, I've seen many one-dimensional points-of-view that express very little depth of thought on the parents' part. They do need to learn, as mentioned above, that children are individuals with their own opinions. You can express your beliefs and society's beliefs, but, in the end, they're responsible for choosing what to do with the morals they've been taught. A parent can only enforce such things to a certain extent or else those kids will be taught there is only one "right" way to live.
It's one thing to say "This is what I believe to be right and how I would prefer you behave" and another to say "You must behave this way or else it means your morals are flawed". Very few also bother to consider motivations and intentions, as if actions define the children and can judge whether those kids have good character or not.
If/ when I become a parent, I would love to have a child who didn't do much "wrong" by most people's standards, but people define success in their own ways. I can't say that having a child who is extremely sociable is any better than one who is well-adjusted, independent, and a bit more reclusive. And I especially can only do so much to influence how that child turns out. I can offer advice and give my reasons for believing a certain thing, but it'd be very limiting for me to tell a child that they have to measure their success (or strength of character) in the same way.
Also, it seems like a lot of parents want an excuse to think poorly of their child(ren). They -need- to find "flaws" and correct them, instead of considering that the kid might be right or at least acceptable (in that there is no one "right" way, both parent and child could be "right"- what works for one person might not work for another, etc).
You can teach them your idea of right from wrong and society's ideas of the same, but you can't punish a kid for doing something if they're just being independent thinkers. IE, clothing choice, etc. You can discourage it, but it's not hurting anyone, and it's not even necessarily immoral (people will debate on skimpy clothing, but even things like looking punk or the like), so you can't punish a kid just because they're not who you imagine them to be.
Let kids live and make mistakes. They might figure out the things you're trying to force on them in their own way, anyway. Or else they'll become someone different, but at least they're not some mindless clone of you.
Good insights, Rebekah and gmwilliams. Especially the part about social agendas. I don't think that there's any reason to insist they do something just because it's more socially acceptable. Life will be easier for them if they do things that people consider socially acceptable, but that doesn't mean it's the "right" or "best" or only way to go about life.
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