When most of us embark on the journey of parenthood, we don’t typically consider the end game, adulthood. We imagine a precious baby, a wobbly toddler and perhaps even a cute elementary student learning to read and write. Rarely do parents envision the adult their child will become, yet everything parents do ultimately prepares children for life as adults.
This brief video shares information from Julie Lythcott-Haims’ work with undergraduate students at Stanford University and in her book How To Raise an Adult. You may be put off by the title of her video or the subtitle of her book, but don’t let it dissuade you from the importance of her message. It is one almost every parent will agree with; parents work to put themselves out of a job. We want to raise healthy educated productive adults.
She states her message quickly and succinctly. She breaks parenting into four steps:
- We do things for children.
- We do things with children.
- We watch them do it.
- They do it independently.
Lythcott-Haims’ analysis aligns with Maria Montessori’s philosophy of education. Teachers show them by presenting a lesson, observe them using the materials, and finally, they do the work independently. They are building the skills needed to recover from mistakes and have the confidence that they can pick themselves up, learn from the mistake and keep going.
Raising children is difficult work and one of the hardest things about it is watching our children make mistakes that might be avoided. We need to let them attempt to do things for themselves, letting them know we are there for them and have confidence in their ability to manage without our interference. Allowing independence in childhood creates adults who can make mistakes and be accountable for the outcomes of their actions. Dr. Montessori has shared this in her proven method of educating children and Lythcott-Haims restates it to help parents incorporate it in their everyday lives with their children. How have you promoted independence in your children?