How My Parents Promoted Autonomy
In My Life, When I Was a Child
As a child growing up, my parents said that I was a very strong-willed child. My mother said, “You were as stubborn as they come, and you still are!” Therefore, they did all they could to encourage my independence while teaching me boundaries at the same time. “It was difficult, but we managed to make it work, one way or another,” my mother said. Being that I was the type of child that always wanted to do things for myself, my parents said that they just had to work with my independence and guide me along the way. I may have been the “baby” and a little spoiled, but I was still given boundaries.
I always liked to explore and test my limits. In an attempt to allow me to explore, my parents made sure that my environment was safe. Instead of running around saying "no" every time I touched something that could harm me, they put dangerous objects out of my reach and lots of safe, fun stuff within it. This gave me a little more independence, and my parents some added peace of mind.
They allowed me to take the lead at times. My parents set limits, but sometimes they allowed me to take the reins — even if my decisions seem outlandish. For example, when I was around 2-years old I would insist on wearing my winter coat in June. They let me and at some point I got overheated and figured out for myself that a thin jacket made more sense. By allowing me to come to that conclusion on my own, they gave me the chance to learn and grow.
I was encouraged to pitch in. When I, as a toddler would see my mother doing anything vaguely interesting — cooking, cleaning, putting together furniture — I wanted to get in there with her and help. When this happened my mother would try to find a way for me to assist. I may not have been able to stir a pot of spaghetti sauce, for example, but she would ask me to get her the spoon. She would also let me assist in putting the place mats on the table. With me being the...
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