Friday, February 4, 2011

Independence...Good or Bad?

Where is the line between good and bad independence?  Is there such a thing?  I believe so.  We have hit the independent stage with Little Monkey.  I think some of it is good, and some of it I want to encourage.  She likes to put her own shoes on, and put her jacket on without assistance, and that's okay they are things she needs to learn.  However, there are other things that I have allowed either through niavette, or by default.  Things like picking out her own cloths, allowing her to choose what she wants to eat for lunch (with in reason).  Those might seem like such little things.  When it comes to me picking out clothing on Sunday morning, she is not real happy, she doesn't pitch a fit, but she lets me know she is not appreciative, and that is not okay.  When it comes to food, well lets just that is a whole other ball of wax.
photo: PhotoBucket

I've come to believe that I allow  my daughter too many choices.  I let her make decisions when I should be making them for her.  She is nearly 3, she doesn't need to choose her own clothing.  She doesn't need to choose what she is going to eat.  If she did that, she would eat mac n' cheese every meal, and I do mean every meal.  This got me to thinking.  How do I want my daughter to turn out?  What kind of woman am I raising her to be?

I don't want her to be so independent that she cannot lean on the Lord, or accept help from others, or submit to her husband (gasp! yeah, I know it's old fashioned, but that is what God said we are supposed to do, and when we do things His way, they work out better for us in the end.)  I want to raise a woman who has a heart for God.  I want her to be willing to put herself aside to help others.  I want to raise a woman who can be a helpmeet for her husband, who can make decisions when called upon, but also rest in her husbands decisions.  I want to raise a woman who sees that the greatest she can ever be, the absolute highest calling for her, is to have the honor of being some man's wife, and a mother to their children.  I want her to see that as an honor, not the drudgery that "Hollywood" portrays.  I want my daughter to look at the example of the Proverbs 31 wife, I want her to want to pattern her life after that woman.

I look at all that I want, and I wonder how on earth do I raise a woman like that?  Especially when I am not that woman, at least not yet.  I realize it does not happen over night.  I realize that the Proverbs 31 example is a lifetime of work, that woman did not get that way over night, she worked at it.  She made the right choices.
photo: PhotoBucket

I know that some of you reading this are thinking "that poor dumb deluded woman, who raised her to be so old fashioned?  Doesn't she know she can have it all?  She can have a career, a husband and a family and be happy?"  You know, some woman may very well be able to "have it all" and be happy.  However, most of the families I have seen where mom works (but doesn't really have to, just does so they can "maintain" a certain level of comfort, ie: big house, nice things, boats, new cars, expensive vacations, ect.) most of those families, are not happy. If you have to work to help pay the bills and put food on the table, that is a okay, you are doing what you need to do to care for your family.  I babysit for a 3 working mom's, 2 are single, one is married.  I hear from all three of them how fortunate I am to be able to stay home with my daughter.  They are right.  I am fortunate and I am blessed.  So, if this makes me dumb, deluded, and old fashioned, that is okay.  I think that 100 years ago there where a whole more families that were happy than there are today.  So I'll take old fashioned, and wear it gladly.

So, all this is to say, I believe that I need to curb my daughters independence in some areas.  I am wondering how I do this without curbing it all? 
So I ask you, where is the line between good independence and bad?


  1. well I don't have advise for all of what you said but with eating heres what I do to conner. This morning is a perfect example. I asked hi do you want a muffin or cereal. He said pancakes again I asked cereal or muffin. This still lets him make a choice but with in my boundries.

  2. Hey Mel,
    You ask a good question that takes some soul searching and thinking. I think what April had to say was good. Give them a little independence but with you setting the boundry of the choices. As my kids have gotten older, they have tried to tell me what they want or where they want to go. Sometimes that is ok. Other times, I simple tell them that they are with me; I'm not with them and they will go where I want to go or whatever the situation might be. Usually it is grocery shopping and "the son" wants to go home and "why can't we get out of here?" and other such comments. That's when I have to remind him who the boss is and that he isn't free to make the choices. Independence in and of itself is not bad as long as it's tempered and age appropriate. And that, my dear, is for you to judge. Sorry, no easy answers on that one. Good luck! Raising kids is a challenge but a joy. Don't give up!
    Aunt Maggie

  3. I know what you mean - I remember a friend of my thinking those issues through before my old enough for me to have to worry about it. She had three kids already and the breakfast issue had become and issue. I listened to her and learned.

    I think that Aunt Maggie is right - it is for you to judge based on your child's abilities and your family's values.

    I really appreciated this post very thoughtful.