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Thread: What is independence?

  1. #1

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    Question What is independence?

    I was at the Parenting Expo today and listen to a talk by a "baby whisperer". She stated that we need to teach babies to be independent. By that she meant mums' being able to go to the toilet without the baby crying, teach them that we will come back. Whilst I agree with letting them know that we will come back, I am unsure if we are really making them independent by being able to leave them alone without them getting upset.

    So I suppose the real question is What is independence?



    To me, it is a baby trying to do things for themselves, not whether they can handle me leaving the room. It is seeing my baby walking, trying to feed herself with a spoon, turn the pages of book etc Aren't these signs of them growing up and therefore becoming independent. Can't we as adults or as children, be able to enjoy and want the company of others? What do others think?

  2. #2

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    I think the trouble with the word “independence” is that people associate it with Americans, and Americans breaking free of the “mother country”, England. (Dem fool thing to do IMHO LOL.) So people associate independence with being away from the mother, which isn’t independence at all. It’s being away from your mother, which can be liberating if you have an overbearing mother, and change your outlook, but not an independence thing. You can be independent living at home, you could end up being totally dependent on someone other than your parents.

    To me, if the baby physically NEEDS to be carried, fed, held and played with 24/7 then that baby is dependent on the mother. If the baby is toddling about, “helping” with feeding, is OK with being away from the mother and can play alone for a bit, that baby is less dependent (and growing up). But independent? No way! Baby is still very dependent on the mother for… well, making the food, providing a safe place to move around in, and to comfort baby when needed (as well as everything else).

    Also, each child develops differently – a very clingy child will grow out of that. I mean, who ever saw a clingy 15 year old? One that didn’t want responsibility, maybe, but not clingy. You can encourage your child to be independent more by listening to them and asking their opinions, by taking them seriously, than you ever can by leaving them alone in a room as a baby. My sister has friends to live with when my parents are on holiday, and though I enjoy being at home by myself and many would say my sister was far more independent than I am - enjoying the company of others is not a sign of childishness or dependency, just a sign of enjoying the company of others.

    Just my opinion there, obviously others may disagree!

  3. #3

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    For me independence stems from being able to do things on their own, whether I am present or not. I say this because Paris is VERY independent. Always has been always will be. You should have seen her when she was just on 2 at the first BB xmas event she was the first child to introduce herself to Santa and wouldn't leave his side. She's very sociable and very confident. BUT I think this is the direct result of her personality. I think 2 children can grow up in the exact same household and be completely different. I've seen this heaps with my friends kids. I don't think its something you can forcibly teach without there being some psychological affect whether its long or short term I don't know but I'm sure it does affect them. As for growth independence I think thats different and not really what the "BW" was talking about (which is what you have described as independence), we all develop to be independent its human nature I think she's more talking about emotional independence, self confidence etc.

    I guess what I'm saying pretty much goes along with ryn!

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  4. #4

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    Babies that are worn have proven to be independent, confident little beings! I don't think I want my babies to be too independent too soon (i.e. at a young age). When they are older, I would hope they come to me with their problems and not feel that they had to get into a state of total distress before I (or anyone for that matter) would help them with anything. I also want them to have a great sense of physical comfort, I love my snuggles and the deeply loving relationship with both my children, who are both very affectionate and I wouldn't have it any other way. They are both very good comforters, especially Marisa being older. It amazes me what an impact in the way I have raised them has had, and yes I do agree personality has something to do with it, but also, those first few years of life when those essential, important connections are being made in their brain about relating to life and love etc, I think I have done what's best for our family.
    Last edited by BellyBelly; May 20th, 2006 at 08:26 AM.
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  5. #5

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    I completely agree with you astrid, it seems like we're being pushed into the wrong sort of independence for our bubbas. Definitely having a go at things in their own time is much more positive independance than forcing them to fit out toilet etc patterns! I think that's negative independance.

  6. #6

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    This is a really tricky one, I would probably prefer to replace the word "independence" with "confidence", IYKWIM?

    For example, Charlie never cries or grizzles when I leave the room, because hopefully he has an inate conficence that Mummy will come back? I don't know, becasue I don't know what is going on in his little brain!!

    Another exmaple would be that Olivia took a huge tumble today and split her lip, blood everywhere: she stood in the park and screamed with pain with arms outstretched and yelled "Mummy kiss it better pliz" and as soon as she was in my arms she stopped crying (although I am sure she was still in pain!) because she was confident that Mummy could make it better (through cuddles and talking it over and kissing it better and explaining what had happened?)

    I don't know. It is a good question.

    I know that Olivia is verbally very confident, and now that she is a confident toddler (ie walking, toilet trained, eats/feeds herself from a normal chair etc etc) she is happier, less frustrated and more independant of me, and plays wonderfully by herself and is determined to do all sorts of things by herself (A lot of our conversations start with "No Mummy, Olivia do it, OK, Olivia by herself" LOL!) But she lvoes to check in every 10 mins or so to show me what she has done, and then wants to share it all by showing me!

    Whether this is her personality/character or if this is simply normal toddler behaviour, I am not sure.

    As with all things parenting, I am reticent to feel I need to "teach" my babies a particular regime that has been spouted by an "expert".......I go on gut instict, as I feel comfier doing that: letting my babies guide me on what they need to learn/experience.

    For example, Olivia wanted me to nurse her and feed her her bedtime bottle until she was about 16 months....whilst I knew she could do it herself, she wanted me to do it for her, so I did. (In hindsight she must have liked the cuddly nature of the bed-time bottle nurse!) Charlie, at 10 months, on the other hand, insists on feeding himself all his own bottles and gets all angry if I try and nurse him. Go figure!!

  7. #7

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    Definately a tricky one. I am still mulling over this. Thanks for the replies so far. Good for getting my brain ticking over.

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