Battling for the Next Gen – Freedom

Freedom is important for kids. This next observation is going to seem to go against some of my previous posts, but stick with me. Give your kids freedom appropriate for their maturity and age. Many of the people reading this and I grew up pre-cell phone or at least pre-popularization of the cell phone. I remember taking a calling card to Space Camp. When you were away, you checked in like once or twice while you were gone, maybe. When you were sleeping at a friends house, you usually didn’t “check-in” at all. Parents only really expected to be contact if something was wrong.

You need to find ways of demonstrating the same trust to you kids today. Occasionally, particularly when your kid is with a trusted adult or group, give your kid the freedom to NOT check-in for a period of time and trust that if there is an emergency the adults will make sure you know. I deal with both sides of this coin, parents who expect to hear from their kids every hour almost and those who don’t know or care where their kids are or what they’re doing. If your reading this you probably don’t have the latter problem, you obviously care about your kids.

Make sure that the kids you love so much are learning to do things on their own and handle things without you problem solving for them. Kids need to experience friendship, camp, sleepovers, and other life events knowing that they have amazing parents who will be there to pick them up when its over and to handle any real emergency but who also teach them and let them do things themselves.

Freedom is important. They need to try things. They need to fail. They need to have teachers that they do not get along with. They need to walk with friends through conflict. And they need to do all of that with guidance. They do not need you to do it for them their entire lives. Because they will have to try new things as adults. They will fail. They will have a boss that they don’t get along with (probably). They will have friends who gossip and lie or hurt their feelings. These things will go on happening for the rest of their lives and they need to learn to deal with them.

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