At dinner, a friend and I were discussing how we taught our children our faith when a lady we knew interrupted our conversation. "You're raising your kids to be Christian? You mean you're not letting them be independent?" She erroneously presumed that if a family passes its faith down to its children, that family is preventing those children from being independent.
I asked the woman what exposure she and her husband were giving their only child to religion. When she responded "none," I asked her to explain the link between a person's ignorance of a subject and their level of independence. Flustered by my straight-forward question, the lady muttered "never mind" and, just like that, bowed out of a would-be theological debate. However, that incident made me wonder how many more people believed that passing down your faith to your kids hindered their ability to be "independent."
For children to have the confidence to act independently, they need high self-esteem. The American Academy of Pediatrics (“AAP”) defines self-esteem as the way in which a person feels about themselves and their ability to succeed. A child's self-esteemis shaped not only by the child's views and self-expectations, but also by the views and expectations of important people in the child's life such as the child's parents. Independencein relation to children is defined as the child's ability to stand on their own in age-appropriate ways and demonstrate that they're ready to assume more responsibility.
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