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Is It Possible To Bring Up Children Without Limiting Their Freedom?

“Trust but verify” -– the common truth that all parents know very well. In practice, however, it’s not an easy matter to give children a free hand. How do you keep from going too far? How do you keep from suppressing a child’s freedom without turning him into a spoiled and rude person?


Between these two extremes, there is an area where you can have mutual agreement, understanding and fun. You can enter this world and the pay-off is self-discipline. But don’t be afraid! Self-discipline does not mean keeping yourself within strict limits. This is creative work that makes your life easier and more cheerful.


Here are some useful recommendations:


  1. Your expectations should correspond with the age and the maturity of your child. You cannot demand that a child say his first word in four months of age or to takes his first step at five months. It’s quit possible that the reasons for your disappointment and anger are just your unreasonable expectations.

    Johnny, who has just learned to walk, turns on the TV. “Don’t do that,” he hears. You take him away, but the child, without any hesitation, rushes toward the set and does the same thing in spite of your protest. You raise your voice, but Johnny is tremendously calm and determined. You realize that you cannot control even a one-year-old child. You begin shouting and even hit him. Crying, screaming, a spoiled mood, confusion.

    Thus, you start the struggle for control and power that lasts a lifetime. In this simple example, the “on button” is a very apt metaphor. Even at one year old, a child finds a button that begins a very complicated mechanism of parents’ feelings: anger, confusion, anxiety, helplessness. Every day, Johnny will find new “buttons,” experiment with them and observe his parents’ agitation and suffering.

    A child’s desire to manipulate the world and control adults is set by nature. Your wild reaction lets him know that he is right, and later he will further master his manipulation skills.

    If you do not want to lose this first round, don’t fight with a child! Believe me, he will always win.

    Respect his need to do repetitive and interesting actions. Give him high marks for observation and the ability to imitate adults’ actions. Let him know what the limits of his freedom are. Don’t hurt him with prohibitions.

    So, a healthy child should do repeated actions. It gives him pleasure from performing a new skill. As it becomes second nature this, in turn, will be an important part of his maturation. He learns to communicate with people and reaches a better understanding of himself.

  2. Look at yourself honestly and coolly.

    If you hit your five-year-old daughter, you cannot demand respect from her and insist that she treat her two-year-old brother well. If you verbally insult your son, it shouldn’t surprise you that he is rude and refuses to follow your instructions. Control over his manners is control over your own, as you are the main role model and teacher for him. Children always copy their parents’ behavior in an attempt to be like adults.

  3. A child is not only an extension of your body and existence.

    Somewhere deep in your mind, you agree with me, but all of your nature is against it. Don’t you suffer when your child is ill? Don’t you feel physical pain when a doctor gives him an injection with a big needle? However, from the first moment your child entered this world, he was an individual with his own spirit and character traits. Whatever you feel, your aim is to prepare him for an independent life, cultivate his talents and help him learn how to make independent decisions.

  4. Your family rules should be reasonable and clear.

    This means protecting a child from access to dangerous or harmful things. Rules should be simple and easy to follow. For example, if you ask your four-year-old daughter to clean her room, she will be at a loss: heaps of toys, clothes all over the floor. This work is beyond her abilities. Thus, she refuses to do it, becomes upset and considers herself a failure.

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