To wrap up the discussion about the joys of raising independent children, I thought I would touch a little bit on a somewhat challenging difference: when does independence become rebelliousness?
Children begin young, exerting their independence, but when does it cross the line and become rebellion or defiance? If you have spent anytime studying Child Development, you might know that it is natural for children to begin "testing" boundaries as young as 10 or 11 months (maybe even earlier!) Toddlers come to a realization somewhere in that age range that they are more than just little extensions of mom and dad, suddenly they realize that they can say "NO!" to a parent or adult and try to exert a little control over their otherwise boring existence. Probably for no other reason but because they CAN.
Defined, rebellion is specifically a "refusal to accept some authority or code or convention." While independence can be defined as "free from external control and constraint". In those definitions we can see what is probably the most important distinction, which is, that independence is more about ability, when one is free from external control, one is also probably capable of doing for themselves.
In this way, it becomes important to allow our children to have independence and be allowed to do those things for themselves that they can do. By coddling or protecting our children from independence we are decreasing their skill set, while simultaneously discouraging and frustrating them to rebellion.
Healthy child rearing should look a bit like an upside-down funnel, in the beginning, you keep them close to you, you feed them, change them, and carry them around with you, as they grow, naturally your "circle" widens and they have more freedom to wander father from you.
Discuss: How do you respond to a child struggling to be independent vs. a child who is defiant or rebellious? How can you tell the difference?