PARENTING is a temporary job and the aim, often put forward, is to raise young people who are independent and self-reliant.
Independence can also foster a very self-focused attitude if it isn't built on a foundation of character.
Independence without character can result in decision-making that only benefits self, while character enables well-adjusted young people to develop a wider scope on the outcomes of their actions.
In a world where the actions of one person can impact others greatly, focusing on character development is paramount.
Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend in their book Raising Great Kids acknowledge family attachment, self-control, accepting failure and developing competence as the foundational aspects of good character.
The first step in this journey is to encourage the child's connectedness with the family. C
hildren who enjoy a close family attachment become more emotionally secure.
This emotional security enables them to respond to discipline and handle failure.
Close family ties also foster good moral decisions and assist the young person to deal with delayed gratification.
Encouraging independence, in children, without first aiming for self-control can often leave parents dealing with situations that could have been short-circuited.
When young people understand that they have responsibility for their actions, they will often be able to find solutions for their problems.
Responsible young people become successful.
In a world where everything doesn't always go as we would like, knowing how to handle failure is the key to knowing how to turn a bad situation around.
Everyone experiences pain and loss and being equipped to overcome this separates the winners from the losers.
The key is for them to be able to accept the failure and then be able to move on with their life.
As well as being able to connect, accept responsibility and handle failure our children have to develop competence.
Encouraging children to develop competence in an area promotes their confidence and self-image.
As parents we can provide the structure for them to experience growth in their talents or interests, whilst staying in the background and ensuring that our own needs for achievement are kept separate.
This way we are supporting their interests, yet allowing them to experience success or failure, without our focus being on the end result.
It's the process that provides the learning and develops the skills.
Developing character enables our young people to play a productive part in the world.
Contributing in a meaningful way to others is the entry to independence.