Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. — Viktor Frankl
How we react—how we choose to react—to situations, truly defines us. But the overlying truth is that we “choose.”
You are free to make choices, but you are not free to choose the consequences. This is the dichotomy of agency.
It’s like building an airplane that’s already in-flight.
As parents, we have to decide at what point we will intercede in our children’s decision-making process. When we see that their choice will have dire consequences, we have to determine to what extent this pattern will serve as either a learning process or a possible damaging effect. Knowing when to take the reins back and suspend their agency can be tricky.
If we wait too long and let them “learn” from the consequence of their choice, they may have consequences that could physically and emotionally scar them, baggage that we don’t want them to take with them for the rest of their lives. However, if we usurp their agency and make too many choices for them the disservice is ill-preparing them for the day when they are left to make critical choices when out in the world.
The reality of it is that we need to let our children make decisions that will lead them to a certain level of failure. They will never learn to pick themselves up if they are never allowed to fall. This painful fact is one that causes pain to both our children and ourselves. But guess what? This is what we signed up for.
Provide a strong foundation and let them make choices.
Let them choose and feel the power of autonomy.
Let them choose and feel the power and consequences of autonomy; the happiness and the angst.
Celebrate the positive consequences with them.
Teach them how to recover from the negative consequences.
Provide an environment to which they can return from stints into the real world and recharge.
Well done parents. Again, well-done parents.
You haven’t heard that enough, but you’ve seen it through their accomplishments and flickering moments of them returning to the tenets that were instilled during their childhood. You’ve built a solid foundation to which they can return, the foundation is there and they will rely on it when grappling with the world.
And continue to “Fight the good fight. Your Family is Worth it!”