An important milestone to reach in regard to becoming independent is doing something without supervision. As parents, we might look after our child and take great care to prevent situations in which the child may end up hurting itself unknowingly.
I’m very supportive of parents who let their kids run relatively free and not so much for parents who pamper and protect their children from every imaginable accident. Although I do relate to the feelings which drive the latter kind of parents, I also know that if I don’t let my children fall and fail, they’ll never learn anything and won’t grow up fit to face the world. If I protect my children from negative consequences of their actions, they’ll never be ready for them, and might even fail to ever achieve positive ones.
Letting my children attend cinema alone – that is, without parent or other adult supervision – or with their friends is sort of a symbolic gesture representing this principle. The cinema is a relatively safe place to practice this too.
That said, I’m a big fan of the free range kids movement. During my childhood I was mostly unsupervised (even with parents I consider extremely restrictive) and I came home with bruises and wounds. Each bruise and each wound taught me something. I’m not talking about knowledge one could put in a book, but rather I’m talking about things like motor skills, my physical limitations of the time, etc.
Of course, letting children run free – metaphorically speaking – presents certain risks for its well-being, but I think the benefits far outweigh the risks. As an independent individual myself, I would rather take risks and fail repeatedly than not take risks and never achieve or learn anything. It’s one of the things I resent my parents – that they didn’t allow me to fail even more often and even bigger.
I’m good with computers. This is a result of decades of failing and learning from my failures. I’ve repeatedly erased or otherwise messed up the data on my father’s computer. Sometimes I could fix it myself, sometimes my father had to fix it, or even recreate it (there was no source control back then and if there was, I’d certainly have wrecked that too at some point).
I have recetnly read a good article on the subject and I’d recommend it to anyone who has children, or plans to have some.
Pregnancy progress: 38 weeks, 1 day (day 9 of early term pregnancy)