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Parent Education Tips for Fostering Independence - Yours and Theirs

As children grow their new found independence, they may feel that school is “their” place. School becomes “mine”. They may not want to share every detail of their day. Allow your children to share their day in their own ways when they are ready. Perhaps you can spark dialogue by sharing how your day went first. “Honey, I am so happy to see you! When you were at school, I went to the store and bought our dinner. Then, I went to exercise and worked on the computer. I had to keep busy while I waited for you.” Pause...see what they say. After a time, you may ask “How was your day?” it may spark a dialogue.

Our hope is to avoid the long interrogation. “What did you do? What did you play? Did you go outside? Did you do a project? Do you like your teachers? (of course!) Did you make any friends? Were you kind? Were the kids nice to you? Did you go to the potty? Did someone help you? What songs did you sing? What was your favorite part?” Boy, oh boy….

Children may perceive these “reports” as pressure to perform. Pressure to do more than just “experience” school. Pressure to enjoy. Is there an underlying expectation that school is something that parents feel they need control from afar. Questions do not necessarily equal connection.

This can apply to photos as well. Sometimes we feel the urge to document every moment in pictures. Today’s technology makes this very easy and tempting. But we may need to ask ourselves if we are allowing our children to have some privacy and independence from us. Moments and memories that are “theirs”. Are we using our photography as a means of not letting go, of being there, without actually being there?

Every memory of their precious lives has been shared with you until now. And now, they get to make memories of their own. Memories with friends, with new adventures, with laughter and learning, with growing and challenging. And you get to make memories of your own. Of rediscovering yourself, of refueling your spirit, of self care and self compassion that will help you to be your whole and worthy self for the long haul of parenting. We can all do hard things!

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