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Fostering Healthy Independence

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Fostering Healthy Independence A mistake that is not uncommon with children from hard places is the idea that because they are four or five, we need for them to look their age and act their age and be independent. Maybe a child who comes home at seven or eight or eleven we want them to look like that age child and we want them to act like that age child. We want them to be independent. And I don't want an eleven year old hanging on my arm like a four year old. Now there are a lot of features of this behavior that as we look at the research we understand that if a child didn't learn to truly trust someone and be completely dependent, those parts of their brain didn't mature and they didn't learn the skill for authentic independence because authentic independence is an outcome of true dependence. I had one of my children's kindergarten teacher who said, "I can always tell the children in my classroom who had high levels, of intense levels of nurture and dependency on their parents when they were small because they are most authentically independent in my classroom." They are most able to play (we know this from attachment research) children are most able to play with other kids without aggression. They are most able to ask for help when they need it but work independently when they don't. There's many features we know from long term studies of children. If a child's brain and emotions, and really their spirit....their body, soul and spirit, are designed to develop in the arms of intense nurture and attention and time. God's even set up a system where a child's hungry every two hours during the night for months. So I am going to be giving intense dependency needs being met for those first few years of life. And out of that comes a child who can truly stand on their own little feet. Can become independent. Can become joyful in being able to connect deeply with people, but also be able to be content alone. That's our goal for our children. So the concept that you are too old to act that way...you need to act like a big boy. If I could ask parent's to give that up, I would. So remember where they have come from. Remember emotionally they didn't learn the tools for independence. They don't have the brain development for independence. And they don't have the trust of them self in the world and you to work out in independence. They will need to be intensely dependent on you in the beginning. All the while, you are nurturing them and loving them and teaching them life skills. But life skills are learned by children who can trust their caregiver and that predicts a caregiver who is emotionally available and lets that child be dependent until they feel strong enough to forge out into the world alone.

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Duration: 3 minutes and 39 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 1
Posted by: jenfridley on Jan 22, 2018

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