Kids’ Declaration of Independence: The Choice Muscle

Happy toddlersAs hard as it is for parents to imagine, one day, their baby is going to sign their own declaration, leave home and be independent. Kids strive for independence from the age of 1½ to 2 years old, when you try to dress them and they say, “No, no, me”, and keep trying to do things themselves.

Much like many countries around the world, kids can get their independence after war and “bloodshed” or after signing a “peace treaty” with the society around them. And much like the independence of countries is mainly the result of what their leaders do, with kids, it is a mainly the result of what their parents do.

Do you feel it is a heavy responsibility? Well, it is! But if you think deeply about it, you will find that power goes hand in hand with responsibility. Parents have lots of power in leading their kids to design their declaration of independence and sign it.

The confusion between chores and independence

If you talk to most parents (when they are calm), they will tell you that independence is very important. Yet when I ask them how if they teach independence, they talk about chores. My mom did the same. She said, “If you do the dishes from the age of 10, when you live in your own home, you will be able to do the dishes”. We told her, “No, Mom. If I wash the dishes from the age of 10, by the time I am grown up, I will hate and resent it so much I will avoid washing the dishes”.

Even though my mom did not think that fun and motivation had anything to do with the kind of grownups we would become, she still wanted us to be independent. I think that much like many other parents, she confused doing chores with independence.

Read more about how to raise independent kids


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