When you parent from a dictatorial hierarchical structure, you are creating children who are dependent and submissive. We, as parents, say that we want our kids to be independent, but we teach them to obey and follow. When a child is told what to do all of the time, how are they supposed to develop independence? How are they supposed to ‘go stand on their own two feet’? We have taught them to listen and do what is told of them. How does this foster autonomy? Unfortunately, we now have adults walking around who are waiting to be told what to do instead of following their own inner guidance. This shows up in their personal lives in the types of relationships they attract and in their professional lives in the type of employee they become. This has shown up in my husband’s business repeatedly. He has tried to coach his employees to think for themselves as they are always looking to him and waiting on him for guidance. He wonders why his employees can’t think on their own. There are many bosses who were raised this way as well, so this type of relationship will continue to foster ‘followers’ in organizations with that type of leadership. However, if we step off of the parental ‘power and control’ wagon and into the ‘care and development’ wagon we can create the opportunities for independence in our children. So many parents need their kids to need them, so they create a codependent relationship with their child instead of slowly and constantly creating ways to develop and grow their autonomy. Instead of allowing them to emotionally evolve we are handicapping them. How do we do this then?
Glad you asked. Stop telling your kids what to do with their lives and involve them and listen to them more. Stop constantly requiring permission and approval and let them practice self exploration. Stop telling them to listen to you because you know the way and allow imperfection to happen for growth’s sake. We don’t need to micromanage and fix everything for our kids. We have become dictators, sermonizers and opinionators. Let your child discover who they are without your constant interference. Create and foster an environment of consensual learning. If their interests and opinions are different than ours we need to view that as a blessing not a betrayal. It means we are raising them to be independent thinkers, not robots. The more independence your children get, the more it should be celebrated. So it may not be the picture perfect vision you so blindly created for their life, but it is their life.
This kind of parenting requires a lot of self containment and the undoing of a lot of our narcissistic tendencies. To let your child grow in their independence requires teaching them to exercise their own personal judgement and be true to themselves. So the real question is, do you really want your child to be independent? If not, what is holding you back from helping liberate them to become their own unique individual?