Fostering Dependence vs. Independence

I have not read the book, but I am fascinated by the concept. How often do we baby our kids? How do strategically set them up for success?

A friend shared this article: “If Your Kid Left His Term Paper at Home, Don’t Bring It to Him” and it hit home. The article refers to the book: The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed by Jessica Lahey. I have added it to my reading list. Of course I have yet to birth this baby, but that does not mean I do not think about how we want to raise him and how dependence can happen so early, and often without parents really knowing it is happening. The author mentions parents who go back home because the kid forgot their homework assignment or lacrosse stick — teaching kids what?

“Over-parenting or fostering dependence, as she describes bailout behavior, has the potential to undermine children’s personal confidence and robs them of the grit they’ll need to succeed in the real world, after they’ve left the safe bubble of home.”

I will tell you, I never remember my parents bringing something I forgot to school. They were at work, at one point in elementary school my mom was teaching at my very school. She was not going to leave to bring something I forgot. As my dad would have told me: “Tough luck.” He was not going to go out of his way to take care of things that were mine to remember. That was my responsibility. He never thought of it as “letting me fail.” He just knew I would learn the hard way to remember — whatever the consequences of my choices.

Food for thought.

One thought on “Fostering Dependence vs. Independence

  1. This book is in my queue and i will be enjoying it soon. thank you for the title!

    With two boys, (11 and 8 years old), babying your child happens in “baby steps” over time so it is easy to find yourself overprotective and helicoptering. You really need to set points in time when you will reassess your parental practices and start to “cut a cord” in one way or another. Now, as parents, we balance providing our kids independence with, in the past, scowls from our neighbors to now, possibly being investigated by state run child care services. This became very clear about a year ago in Maryland ( ) where it seemed possible that Danielle and Alexander Meitiv could have lost their kids by letting them play in a park a mile away unsupervised. That is insane. When I grew up, i was walking to and from school by the 3rd grade unsupervised (8 years old on average) which was a half mile from my house even when we received warnings that there was a grey sedan trying to pick up kids. We were then instructed to travel in packs which sucked because the cool / uncool; boys / girls; and younger grades were forced to walk together (so stupid when looking at it now). so as parents, we have a choice, helicopter our kids or chance arrest and provide them independence.

    I believe that kids do learn risk taking mostly from watching at a young age and then practice it when they get older (pre teen). We should allow (maybe even required) them to take many risks as long as we are directly engaged and are able to make each failure a learning lesson. unfortunately accidents will happen but for us to allow an overseeing body like child services to blame and ultimately arrest a parent (blame game) for something that was truly an accident.


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