Teaching Children about Freedom

Teaching children freedom is an important value to teach. Understanding freedom includes understanding our personal boundaries in relation to others. Children learn about freedom at home first. Parents teach by example. Proper discipline in developmentally, age-appropriate ways is key. Children need limits in order to understand the limits others should self-impose. Parents expand a child’s environment, social activities, and learning step by step in an age-appropriate way to teach children how to interact with and learn from others. Teaching in those “opportune moments” as things come up are more meaningful and are learned more deeply. Planning a teaching opportunity is a good way for parents to introduce a subject, maybe sharing, waiting turns, bullying, etc. Books, TV shows, or movies provide situations to discuss with your youngster and teenager.

Children have a place to sleep and play. They have toys, clothes, and belongings of their own. They need to learn justice and fairness first. If a sibling or peer takes one of their belongings, they learn not to take what isn’t theirs. In addition, they learn that the other person needs to return the belonging. If they commit an injustice against someone else, they learn about consequences, returning what they took or making reparations. If they broke a toy, they may need to work extra chores at home to earn the money to buy a new one. Or, they may need to offer services or chores to the other person to “cover” the damage. Or, if they damaged property, they need to clean it up and/or earn money to repair it.

Teaching children freedom and moral values…

For example, my son at about age 10 broke a double paned window…

For example, once, my son at about age 10 once a double paned window to get in our house. He forgot his key. He walked home from summer camp at his school and knew he could go to the next door neighbors or wait half an hour on the front porch for his 13 year old sister to return home. But, he panicked and broke the window on purpose. His allowance for 9 months went to pay for a new window!  He never complained.

Teaching children freedom is important for their formation of morals.  Children learn freedom from their experiences. They learn that they are free to play in the back yard. At an older age, they ride a bike in the street and later cross a busy intersection. Gaining privileges is a natural progression of growing older and wiser. Also, they learn what is considered mean and what is kind. Cyberbullying is mean. Teach them to be kind and not get involved in others who are mean.

So, first a sense of boundaries, compassion, justice, fairness, and reparation are needed to understand one’s cultural definition of freedoms. Children learn freedom of speech at home when parents allow differences of opinion in a safe environment. This translates to school and outside activities. When they learn about our country’s freedoms, they learn how to use those freedoms. Also, they learn how to not impinge not the freedoms on others. Be available and open to your child’s experiences and allow open discourse for learning about freedom. Teaching children freedom is an important value to teach.

Coach Jody

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Pediatric Nurse Practitioner- Board Certified (PNP-BC), RN, MS, Health Coach, FAARFM (Fellow in Anti-Aging, Regenerative and Functional Medicine)

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