Yes, I do not feed my daughter. She is almost 10.
And no, I do not feed my son. He will be 5 in ten days’ time.
My husband loves to feed them and strongly believes that only if we feed them, do they eat properly and to their stomachs’ content.
My take on it is that the kids need to eat by themselves and become independent. It does not matter how long it takes for them to finish their meal or how much they spill along the way.
Both of us might be right in our own ways but sometimes at the root of our disagreements – especially on raising children – are the conditioning and cultural cues that our upbringing and environment have ingrained into us.
My husband was born and brought up in a small conservative village in the South of India while I grew up in the capital of the country. The differences in our ideology is quite vast.
Raising independent kids
I like to give my kids books and toys and see them immersed in them rather than switch on the television or hand them the phone. I don’t mind the TV, though. My kids have picked up tremendous amount of knowledge and vocabulary from many lovely children’s programs. The trick is to monitor and control what they are exposed to. I only allow two kids channels with programming that is clean of bad words, bad manners, disrespecting elders, etc.
I would rather have my kids study by themselves rather than me sitting on their heads and constantly telling them what to do. They are responsible kids and need to learn how to take responsibility and do stuff on their own. In case they have any doubts, they can always ask but sorry, no spoon feeding. I do not like rote learning.
I give them chores and get them to help out with stuff like washing and cleaning, and picking up after themselves rather than have them taking everything for granted and the adults running themselves crazy doing everything themselves.
I do not jump up from what I am doing and rush into my kids’ fights. I will rather let them sort it out among themselves. Only if the volume crosses a certain threshold do I venture into it. After all, one moment they might be having what seems like the fight of the century and in the next, they both will be laughing their heads off or conspiring how they can cross the booby traps and walk into the enemy territory in their imaginary lands.
Giving them wings
I cannot be a helicopter mom hovering on my kids and monitoring what they are doing the whole time. They need space to grow. They need to know that I trust them enough to do whatever they want to, within the boundaries that I have set for them. They need the space to spread out their wings as well as boundaries to let them have a soft place to land.
Some might consider me to be wrong in the way I am raising my kids, but then unless I give them the wings, how can I expect them to fly?
I am a steward of my kids and want them to become independent, thoughtful and knowledgeable individuals who want to make the world a better place and make a difference.
The sooner the kids learn how to handle themselves and their emotions, the sooner they will be prepared for the real world where they are not the kings and queens of the world. Just because they are treated like princes and princesses at home does not necessitate that the world will treat them well. There will be others who would be more popular, more intelligent, more knowledgeable than them.
One fine day, they will very soon realize that life does not always work in their favor, the way they want it to, at their timelines.
And that day, it would be important for them to have the tools and skills necessary to equip them and empower them to be their own self, to not depend on others, and to know what to do and how to respond. Our task is to raise confident children.
What do you think? At what age should children be empowered and given freedom?
Share your thoughts in the comments and also if you think culture plays a role in how we respond to kids and our ways of bringing them up.
And the question of the day, do you feed your kids????
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