Why is the Child’s Achievement of Independence so Important?

How does individuality come about? Why is the child’s achievement of independence so important and how can a child be aided in achieving this goal?

Freedom and Discipline lead to the individuality of the child.

The first period of a child’s life of adaptation is important for building the individuality. Infancy is a period of true importance, because, when we want to infuse new ideas, to modify or better the habits and customs of people, to breathe new vigor into its national traits, we must use the child as our vehicle; for little can be accomplished with adults and this can lead to the individuality of the child.

The child, who was born normally and is growing normally, goes towards independence. Except when he has regressive tendencies, the child’s nature is to aim directly and energetically at functional independence.

The child’s conquests of independence are the basic steps in what is called his “natural development”. Let us study this path and its stages. At birth, the child leaves his mother’s womb and this makes him independent of her bodily processes. The baby is next endowed with an urge, or need, to face the outer world and to absorb it. We might say that he is born with “the psychology of world conquest”. Learning to speak, therefore, and the power it brings of intelligent converse with others, is a most impressive further step along the path of independence.

Truly it is nature which affords the child the opportunity to grow; it is nature which bestows independence upon him and guides him to success in achieving his freedom. The child, who has extended his independence by acquiring new powers, can only develop normally if left free to exert those powers. Independence is not a static condition; it is a continuous conquest, and in order to reach not only freedom, but also strength, and the perfecting of ones powers, it is necessary to follow this path of unremitting toil. Independence is not something that your children can gain on their own but through the environment. They have neither the perspective, experience, nor skills to develop independence separately from you. Rather, it is a gift you give your children that they will cherish and benefit from their entire lives.

From Birth to 6 years: The first stage is the age of the absorbent mind. Children absorb indiscriminately from his/her environment in a sensorial manner. The two environments are home and school. The primary goal is physical independence. The message from the child, “help me do it myself”. Children need above all to be active. During this period, the sensory periods for order, the control of movement and for language acquisition are the strongest.

By the age of 6, we want them to acquire two psychic tools:

  1. Attitude of wonder and all in being alive, to be open to the wonders of the world;
  2. Attitude of confidence of being able to function within the environment.

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