The Wisdom of Dependency

Have you ever had the thought that your children should be doing more for themselves?

I can think of many thoughts I have had over the years; “They should be able to make their own packed lunch now”, “Why can’t they tie their shoelaces yet?”, “I should refuse to make their beds from now on” etc. Whilst these thoughts are a completely natural part of parenting they can bring us stress and shame and it certainly pays to question them. When I learnt that the need to “train our children to be independent” was a complete myth, I felt such a relief and welcomed the alternative option of letting them ‘get there in their own time”. This doesn’t mean we don’t ever have to demonstrate to them how to do things independently however it does remove the need to approach things with ‘urgency’ or put pressure on ourselves to ‘teach and train’ them as soon as possible. In fact this pressure is not helpful for child development, we are not birds that can be pushed out of the nest, the more we push children to be independent the more likely they will become alarmed, clingy or look to someone else for help.

In our 5 step program, we offer insight into the importance of inviting our children to depend on us and how it deepens our attachment. We also discuss how important dependency can be in sibling relationships and how their independence will flourish when they are in the ‘right relationship with each other, providing “cascading care” from the eldest to the youngest. Unless we can invite our children to depend on us nature will not be able to raise them to their potential including their full potential as separate, INDEPENDENT, beings. Inviting our children to depend on us actually cultivates independence in them, it helps them to grow roots and wings! I elaborate on all the wonderful benefits of ‘inviting dependence’ in my coaching but in the meantime here are a few things you can ponder on..

Can you think of any examples in your life where you need to depend on another (partner/parent/close friend) and it helps you? How does it make you feel? What is one way that you already invite dependency with your child/children? Do you see scope for doing this more consistently or can you see another way you can do this?

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