OK, parents – here’s one for you to mull over and consider. This, from LRH’s essay A Child’s Dignity and His Goals:
“Perhaps the single most important point for parents to follow is the importance of giving goals to a child. And the most important goal is that of growing up to be an adult.”
“A child should have responsibility and independence commensurate with his status as a child. He should have things which are wholly his and about which he decides everything. But under no circumstances should he be possessed automatically of as much right as an adult in the sphere of the home. To give him this is to remove the main goal of his life: growing up.” –LRH
That’s one, when I first read it on the Successfully Raising Children Course, made me stop & think for a sec. Clearly, Mr. Hubbard is quite clear on the subject of ownership and the child’s possessions, as has been written on these pages before. However, one is obviously also in for a world of trouble if one doesn’t apply that rule with a bit of sense. What happens if you give ALL items in the house to the child? Well, either you’re in for complete destruction (see this very apt post comparing babies to zombies for reasoning on such) or you’re going to give the child a big lose as they clearly cannot control the big-people things in the house like irons and stoves and the car and picking up the baby and so forth.
In my household, I’ve got a 20-month-old and a 3-month-old. So, between my wife and I, we’ve worked out a number of immediate “goals” for our daughter that makes it interesting and compelling for her to want to “grow up”. As in, when she’s bigger, she can:
Pick up her baby brother and burp him by herself
Push the stroller by herself
Cross the parking lot by herself
Use the computer by herself (well, she already can sort of do that)
Start the car (boy does she want to do that)
As a result, she does have her toys and her books and her crayons and such which are absolutely, exclusively, and un-arguably hers. But she knows that if she can get bigger, she’ll be allowed to do all kinds of big-girl things which she just can’t WAIT for.
I’d certainly recommend reading the full article cited above, as there’s quite a bit to reflect on. I’m sure I’ll be taking many more looks at the same as my kids grow up.