At what age should we be allowed to have our own ideas? #67 #cong18


When you look at the type of people that have ideas and what they feel needs to happen to develop ideas you may find that they they might have with been in a position where they were desperate and had to come up with an idea for their own survival be it in a market or otherwise or they were in a comfortable position where they had the freedom to come up with ideas but then had to leave the comfort zone of maybe a well paid job to go out on their own as an entrepreneur and be in control of their own destiny in order to develop their idea. My question is as parents what environment can we provide to our children to have ideas and develop them and what barriers are we putting in place to prevent them?

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Removing negative reinforcement will allow for ideas.
  2. Positive reinforcement can be a barrier to idea generation also.
  3. You need to feel a certain level of control to develop an idea.
  4. Parents can facilitate an ideas friendly environment by allowing children to be in control of themselves.

About Sinèad Curran:

Sinèad Curran is a social care worker by trade, a mother to three children and has now set up her own coaching business starting with her Aligning with Autonomy Parenting Programme which aims to help parents by working with their child’s strengths and developing their autonomous nature.

Contacting Sinèad Curran:

You can contact Sinèad by email or see her work on Aligning With Autonomy

By Sinèad Curran

Traditionally in Ireland children were subjected to quite negative reinforcement and while it was certainly not a pleasant or appropriate time for any child we can probably all think back to a time where out of fear of the certain repercussions we had to think fast to come up with an idea to save our skin !

Not altogether the stuff childhood dreams are made of , however at the same time it gave us a taste of what it’s like to problem solve and think on your feet !
We expect that day to be gone now and rightly so but what have we replaced it with ? We as parents may still use negative reinforcement although not physical it’s more passive you won’t be allowed to…. or I’ll take x y z off you , some parents are fantastically consistent at this their child knows there is no getting away with anything and will behave accordingly but what does this do to the soul and more importantly to the idea that they can get themselves out of something ?

An alternative option is to use positive reinforcement , ignore the bad, reward the good , if you do x, y and z I will give you a, b and c . If you don’t do you don’t get .

A lot of children will relish this and be delighted with their set rewards and the high fives and will become fantastic at doing exactly what is expected of them , but what is what doing to their creativity?

We are so set on our children ticking the boxes , being good , following the right steps to achieve the right outcome but how useful will that be to them as adults?
Given the cailibre of their education do we really see them in jobs where it will be “what you are told when you are told” ?

So what exactly are we preparing them for?

Of course any parent will want their child to be creative and have their own ideas, at school, or Friday evening art class but what about at home ?
Aligning with Autonomy is a parenting programme I designed with the intention of addressing behavior in a very willful child and it has served it purpose but perhaps more relevantly I have seen how by removing punishments and rewards the child was also able to form his own ideas and develop them and not only the willful child . I was amazed to see the change in my “good” child. The child that was always happy to do “what he was told when he was told” he became more assertive, he started coming up with his own ideas and just as importantly developing those ideas and implementing plans.

Are they gone off on an alternative route away from the mainstream? Not at all.

When I want them to do something instead of telling them what to do, I instead “ present the predicament” and they work it out, what should come next.
They will work out that they need more information to make decisions which they may ask me for or source online. They do the research, they want to know what will happen if they do x y or z . Sometime it works out , sometimes I have to watch them get it wrong , make mistakes, sometimes spectacularly but also I’ve seen them learn how to do continue on to the desired objective.

Anybody that comes up with a big idea and takes it to fruition will tell you that they had to make mistakes and be let make mistakes, have the freedom to get it wrong over and over again until they got it to where it needed to be themselves without the controlling hand of another person.

Like all the generations of parents before us we think we know it all and exactly how life will work out for our children based on their behavior and where that will lead them, but has any other generation of parents ever being as invested , concerned, involved or as controlling with their children?

I’d love to see what would happen if more and more parents took a step back, let their children have more control, let them work out a certain amount for themselves let them problem solve outside of school and watch how their brains develop in an environment where they are let come up with their own ideas ????.