Have you ever wondered why some children grow up confident and independent while others do not?

“When are you going to start your college applications?” I looked across the room and saw the young man gaze at the floor.  He said nothing. “You have worked so hard for this, and you are running out of time.” He still said nothing. His eyes never lifted from the floor. His mother turned to me and asked, “What should I do? He is running out of time.”  I looked into her eyes and sought a word that could buy time for this teen. “Patience,” I answered.  “You raised your son. You love him. Show him you believe in him.”

A secure and loving attachment must be followed by freedom, encouragement and respect if a child is to become capable of making his own thoughtful decisions. Self-trust must be fostered from an early age. With support it leads to insight, independent judgment and the ability to discriminate.

Children trapped by excessive attachment are forever chained.  They are paralyzed by uncertainty and a fear of loss makes them unable to believe in themselves and make decisions on their own. They turn to others for support and praise and often chase reflections rather than their own dreams.  Parents who provide a secure attachment that evolves into freedom and encouragement are preparing their child for a life filled with a healthy self-esteem, a belief in oneself and the confidence to listen to their own inner voice. Parents must let go of their child support autonomy rather than self-doubt. Parents who are unable to let go, imprison both themselves and their child.

By believing in the pervasiveness of good, parents are able to detach and allow their children to make their own choices. Such behavior serves as a model for unconditional and non-judgmental love, respect and acceptance and allows a child to be both secure and capable. In this way children become responsible and comfortable with their own decisions.

The next time your toddler attempts to walk and falls remember it was his choice. When your preschool aged child jumps off the couch and breaks a lamp remember he is practicing choice. When your school aged child neglects to study for a test and his grade is a D remember it was his choice, and when your teen chooses something  you do not agree with do not throw your hands in their air and shout and stomp out of fear and anger. Draw each of these children close and revel in their independence.

She turned to her son. “I believe in you and always will.” He raised his head and for the first time that day they looked at one another.  I said to myself, “Now we can begin.”