Make children and adolescents independent and autonomous it is one of the main goals that parents have set for themselves at some point in their lives.
And the truth is that while this process of educating young people to be freer sounds good, it is not a rosy path, and it often presents great difficulties: rebellious teenagers who prefer not to struggle, parents who sabotage. unconsciously their children’s attempts to do things independently, lack of guidelines to follow, etc.
Below i will show keys to understanding what the learning and education process should look like to develop more independent children and young people.
The keys to autonomy education centered on parents
Some of the changes that can be made to promote children’s independence need to be made in the thinking and behavior of the adults who care for them. These are the guidelines to keep in mind.
1. Believe in your ability
The first step in facilitating the independent learning process of children and adolescents is believe they are able to do it. Something written looks very simple, but in reality it’s not that much; it is about seeing with different eyes both the behavior of children and the role of oneself as a parent or legal guardian.
A young person will not begin to act independently if the implicit message that communicates to the one who encourages him to do so is that it is a task that another must do for him, by giving him orders or by deciding to do so. what needs to be done.
2.lose fear of the situation
Many parents subconsciously slow down their children’s independent learning because they are afraid of what might happen. Since the existence of an independent daughter or son means that we lose control over what that person does, pessimistic ideas about what can happen can frequently attack our imaginations. For example, think about dangerous friendships you may make, drugs you might be exposed to, accidents you might have due to your negligence, etc.
These ideas have such a strong emotional impact that when parents see that their children are starting to become independent, his attention is focused on these catastrophic thoughts, as if their existence itself was a real danger. From there, we move on to ruminate, that is to say, to reflect in a loop on what produces stress: in this case, the (relative) dangers of having more independent sons or daughters than before. . Adults feel bad because they imagine these situations and imagine these situations because they feel bad.
To solve this problem, you need to go through two phases:
Restructuring of ideas
It should be clear that the dangers that Independents face due to the lack of constant oversight of a protective figure are very relative, and the actual chances that these omens will be fulfilled are very low. On the other hand, it should be remembered that the much more likely danger is to bring up a daughter or a son who remains helpless even when he has long reached adulthood, if he does not change his attitude.
Break with rumination
Dealing with initial stress which in some cases can mean more independence for children and teens becomes necessary in some cases. To do this, you can read this article on what rumination is and how it can be neutralized.
3. Recognize the need to work harder
The education of independent sons and daughters is another task in the series of activities involved in the education of new generations and, therefore, requires extra effort. While it may seem like constantly controlling kids and teens is a bigger nuisance, it really isn’t: helping kids become independent means teaching them the tools to do it, and that’s something. which costs money, especially at the beginning.
On the other hand, impatience and the desire not to devote a lot of time to an activity being learned means that many parents prevent the possibility of learning basic tasks such as dressing or bathing, at home. children. , in adolescents. This is why you have to keep in mind that the early stages are always slow and expensive, and that “speeding up” these moments by intervening yourself on what the young person has to do is a way of sabotaging learning, too. convenient as it is. result in front of his own comfort.
Therefore, parents and caregivers should keep in mind that often the lack of initiative and autonomy of their children results from the fact that they themselves prefer to continue to exercise control, because it is simpler. and comfortable, and this attitude causes attempts to behave independently to be rejected and punished.
4. Know how to detect requests for independence
As people who really know what’s going on better than the girls and boys they educate, parents and guardians often underestimate their own judgment and the demands of the little ones, Believing that they know how to interpret what they really want better than they do. This reasoning is fallacious and, moreover, it is a way of creating a series of ideas about one’s own relationship with children that will never be questioned or forced to adapt to the rate of their growth.
When a child says “me alone” when performing a task he or she is learning, the caregiver should spend at least a few seconds thinking about whether or not it is really reasonable to oppose this request or not. Likewise, it should be borne in mind that the demands for autonomy vis-à-vis children are very diverse and, in certain cases, subtle, and that a certain sensitivity must be developed in order to know how to detect them.
Youth-centered training strategies for the self-employed
Now that we have seen the attitude of adults in the education of young people and children for independence, let’s see how change can be promoted in the latter.
1. Spend more time together
Something as simple as spending more time with young people is an ingredient that promotes learning exponentially. Of course, there must be times when timeshare is quality: Being in the same room looking carefully at two different screens, because there is no dialogue.
The conversations and games that spontaneously appear in these contexts are a source of knowledge that allows young people to see the world through different eyes, to ask new questions and to be interested in more topics. The latter is fundamental, because curiosity is the engine of learning.
2. Examine your tastes and interests
The most effective way to get children and young people interested in learning new activities giving them more autonomy means putting them in touch with the subjects that interest them, Or by creating stories in which are framed the subjects of interest and those to be learned, such as exercises in which the two elements are found.
3. Experiment with reward systems
In some cases, incentive systems similar to the token economy can be useful in stimulating learning and empowerment: Whenever significant progress is made, a reward is given which should not be delayed.
Ideally, rewards should be rare and more symbolic than material, as they thus symbolize the acquisition of a series of skills and abilities that are a consequence of learning itself, rather than being something. Completely foreign to this and therefore more linked to intrinsic motivation.
This strategy, combined with the above, can make incentives more attractive. For example, if the child has a strong interest in fiction based on a magical world, the rewards can be medals related to these fictional universes.