According to the psychologist Elisenda Pascual i Martín, "autonomy is the capacity that people have to carry out, by ourselves, the things to which we are attracted". In the case of children, it is the parents who must accompany them and help them to work on that autonomy. What tools can we use for this? What if we rescue from our childhood the blind chicken game to work autonomy with children? It will be fun and constructive at the same time!
My oldest daughter is almost 8 years old and lately I just wonder what things she can and cannot do at her age. She is already being a little person and, little by little, I notice that she demands more freedom and more space, so for a few weeks, when we return from school, I let her advance my step about 500 meters and she enters by herself to buy the bread, quite an experience that I see you enjoy!
The same goes for bath time. "I'm older," he tells me. And draw the curtain so I don't see it and sneak my honey gel. What I still haven't dared to do is let her go up alone in the elevator (and we live on the second floor): "What if she stays locked up? What if there is a breakdown?" I think there is still a lot of time for that! But with these little steps, I try work autonomy, their autonomy.
Autonomy is a very complicated concept for parents to manage, since there is a thin and invisible line that can make some lean more towards being overprotective and others, instead, towards abandonment.
Regarding the first, the psychologist Elisenda Pascual explains that "overprotection refers to the accompaniment of parenting based on the internal fears of adults." A biased and limiting way because you are seeing life through your own life experiences, your mistakes and successes, your aspirations and illusions. What to do? "Remove the filter of fears with which we see them, to have more clarity and confidence in our gaze," explains the psychologist.
We now go to the next extreme, abandonment, those situations that children may not want to do, but are "encouraged" by their parents, something that the little one can block.
And in this classification that we are doing, we cannot forget independence, that is, one's ability to fend for oneself and, for that, children first have to be autonomous. They have to feel that we accompany them to carry out small daily actions because they only achieve that with the help of their parents and working on autonomy.
So that all parents can work autonomously from home, Elisenda Pascual proposes us to recover a classic game well known to adults and children: the one with the blind chicken, a simple proposal, accessible to all families and with great benefits for all
The dynamics is simple. You need a handkerchief and make pairs of child and adult (if you are odd, take turns, but it is very important that there is always an 'accompanying' person). The little one will cover his eyes, but first he will have to spend some time to know what activity he will explore with his eyes closed, for example, painting, making mud, dressing up, jumping rope, making a block castle ...
Once the task is chosen, the game begins! You must be close to your child but unable to speak, absolute silence! You have 15 minutes to do this activity. After this time, change of roles! The adult blindfolds and the child accompanies.
After the two shifts, it is time to think, analyze and express. How did you feel when you were blindfolded? And your son? Have you been by their side, have they been told, ordered, overprotected ...? What has he felt about your role as a companion? It is time to review our concept of autonomy and security.
After this activity, parents should reflect on how our accompaniment has been (and is) in the exploration of the lives of our children. Are you already more clear about what autonomy is? Do you already know how you behave as a father? There we leave it!
Consulted sources: Raising and Playing (Ediciones Urano), by Elisenda Pascual i Martí.
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