Imagine your kids going out into the world, say to go to college. Everything would be so new and exciting for them. New-found freedom, so many choices, time, ability, everything would be going for them. Here you would probably be worried about them. In that instant, all you would wish for is that when faced with different roads to take, your kids make the right choices. How can you confidently believe that your kids will make the right choices? By bringing up your kids to be independent thinkers. When they think independently, they learn to make conscious, responsible choices.
Unfortunately, our society is more concerned about we people “getting along” than about “getting it right”. This is what we come to expect from our kids as well, rather unknowingly sometimes. When we do not encourage and teach our kids to be independent thinkers, they take on the herd mentality and follow the crowd. Even as adults, they struggle with decision making. They stay stuck in uncomfortable even bad situations because they don’t know how to be free and think on their own!
We definitely do not want that for our kids. But if we adults worry too much about how will society perceive our decisions, we pass that attitude on to our kids.
When we place more emphasis on “following the crowd” than on wondering what is right and wrong and then taking the right decisions, we are taking away the most profound ability from our kids. The ability to think independently. When we do not try to raise our kids as independent thinkers, here’s what happens:
- They learn to tell everybody what to do and think everyone should do it because “they said so.” This happens because when we do not encourage them to think independently, they don’t know that everyone always has a choice. When we impose our thoughts and beliefs on them, they think that’s how things work. They eventually do that as well, as they grow up.
- They sometimes lack confidence in themselves. Kids who are not brought up to be independent thinkers are not usually confident about themselves. They tend to be submissive and prefer to follow than lead. They fear taking decisions.
- They get into bad company and make the wrong choices to fit in. This is every parent’s nightmare coming true. In order to feel good about themselves, they feel like “fitting in” with the crowd. In their case, their peers. That’s where they end up making wrong choices for themselves. This is where lack of independent thinking can be dangerous for your kids. We can’t police our kids all the time. We can only teach them values, trust them to make the right choices and be there for them.
- They stay stuck in uncomfortable situations and hesitate to take action. Because they are used to being told what to do and what not to do. When in a situation where they need to save themselves, they do not know how to make tough choices.
- How will they retain their unique individuality and learn to become leaders? Without the ability to think independently, how will become good leaders, wherever they are and in whatever they do?
Now that we have established the consequences of not bringing up our kids as independent thinkers, let’s look at the pros of bringing up our kids as independent thinkers. Here’s your why:
- When kids grow up to be independent thinkers, they make right life choices. This is the most important outcome of our kids thinking on their own and taking decisions. They know why to stay away from nasty temptations like alcohol, drugs and bad company.
- They do not worry about fitting in. They do not worry about what people think about them. They do what they need to do.
- They understand responsibility.
- They even learn to take care of the ones they care about and not just themselves.
- You can trust them with all your being.
- They know that sometimes they may go wrong but they gain confidence in themselves bit-by-bit.
- They live a value-based life. They know what means the most to them.
- They do not succumb to people pleasing because they know who they are (a sum total of their values, loved ones, their goals and ambitions) and what they need to do.
- They never stay stuck in inappropriate situations.
- They grow up to be the kind of leaders the world needs.
Now that we have looked at the merits of why you need to bring up your kids as independent thinkers, perhaps you would like to know how to do that? Watch our program video on Independent Thinkers and reach out with your queries.