As the saying goes, teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life. Same applies for our kids, Independence is an important trait for success and applying it to studying can help children take an active role in accomplishing their learning goals. We as adults need to learn to empower our kids to make informed decisions and then face the consequences. It can be frustrating, really frustrating at times but kids wouldn’t give it all if they don’t understand its importance and don’t feel it.
And it starts really early, we as parents give in to the cute innocent faces and fall in the trap. For example if the kid is not eating his her food we are after their life, running pole to pillar with a plate full of food. Just try for once holding your grounds of serving food only during lunch / dinner time and not later. Trust me I know how difficult it is to fight back the guilt or frustration but a few days of fight can make your life a lot easier and you are teaching a very very valuable lesson. Your child will come to the dining table absolutely in time for the next meal and eat everything you serve be it veggies or favourite pizza.
Similarly we wish to give everything to our kids and an opportunity to excel in everything in life. We enrolled them in multiple enrichment classes like art & craft , dance , tennis , ballet, violen , piano and the list is never ending. And then we take it upon us to make sure they give their best, maximise from each class because its not only our precious dollars but also out time that’s getting spent on these classes. But for once let's sit back and ask our kid to choose / pick one or two activities that they really wish to do and give their 100%. Let’s include them in the decision making process, let's give them a voice from now itself. But yes like every right of freedom, it comes with a responsibility. i.e we make it clear what the consequences are of failing to keep the promise. And then hold your ground and make the kid experience the consequence else they wouldn’t take it seriously.
I’ll give you my real life experience, one semester my daughter instead I enrolled her for a number of classes like soccer, skating, violin, Kumon all in one go. Mind you she insisted so I went ahead and was super happy, yeyeyeye she’s into everything, she’s a rock star awesome. But mid way to the semester she started loosing interest in most activities as it really was too much and most of her choices were made out of peer pressure of what other friends are doing. So after some time I had a candid conversation with my daughter and asked her to pick 2, at max 3 activities that she really likes and would like to continue but then she has to give her best. Don’t have to become a master overnight but I want to see some genuine input. She took 2 days and came back with completely different set of choices piano, tennis, Kumon. So I told her ok we shall go ahead with these but that means she has to give away the equipment we bought for the existing activities and that this time she has to earn the equipment for these new activities i.e she will get her own piano after term 1 and if we see her putting the effort to actually learn the instrument and same for tennis. That made her take 2 more days to think.
And I am happy to share that after 2 days she came back and agreed to give away her brand new skates and Violen to her friends, borrow a piano and tennis racket for a few months and get on with the classes. We are now 6 months strong into the learning and are now proud owner of a beautiful piano and tennis racket etc etc.
So all I am saying working on making our kids independent really helps, not only with our relationship with the kids but also our mental health.