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Updated: Jun 9

Raising an independent but responsible child is a goal that many parents strive for. Parents embark on a quest to strike a delicate balance between fostering autonomy and instilling a sense of accountability.

Its important to remember that an adult is not someone who always knows better; rather, it's someone who has more experience and can share different outcomes of different actions. By sharing your own experiences and challenges with your children, you not only provide them with valuable insights but also demonstrate that learning and growth are ongoing processes.

Every evening, I share a story from my childhood with my children when I faced a challenge and how I dealt with it. They ask questions, question my decisions, and we discuss the different approaches I could have taken. This open dialogue helps them understand that mistakes are a natural part of learning and that there are often multiple ways to approach a problem.

At WorkCastle, with the lowest student-to-teacher ratio in Austin, our teachers facilitate discussions, share their experiences, and promote critical thinking. By creating a collaborative learning environment where students are encouraged to explore, question, and reflect, we empower them to develop independence, responsibility, and a lifelong love of learning.

Here are my key principles that I incorporated as a philosophy at WorkCastle:

1. Allow Children to Choose: Giving children the opportunity to make choices helps them develop decision-making skills and a sense of autonomy. Whether it's choosing their own clothes, deciding what to eat for breakfast, or selecting which extracurricular activities to participate in, allowing children to have a say in their own lives helps them feel empowered and responsible for their choices. Important: for younger children (for those younger than 3yo only offer a couple of choices, so that they don’t get lost in eternity of choices).

2. Hear Their Opinion and Discuss: It's important to listen to your child's thoughts and opinions, even if they differ from your own. Show appreciation for their input and engage in discussions that allow them to express their ideas and reasoning. This helps them develop critical thinking skills and learn how to articulate their thoughts effectively.

3. Avoid Saying "No" Unless Dangerous: Instead of automatically saying "no" to your child's requests, encourage them to think critically about their choices. Ask them if they think their idea is a good one and what they believe the consequences might be. Encourage them to consider how their actions might impact others and always leave space for self-assessment and reflection.

4. Empower Through Encouragement: Instead of offering help preemptively, encourage your child to try things on their own. When they succeed, praise their efforts and celebrate their accomplishments. If they encounter challenges, offer guidance and support without criticizing or belittling their efforts. Show them how to improve through showing them an example.

5. Show Natural Consequences: Teach your child that actions have consequences, both positive and negative. Allow natural consequences to unfold. Wether itэs a broken toy or a wet shirt, itэs an important experience to gain.

By implementing these strategies and creating a supportive environment that promotes independence and responsibility, you can help your child develop into a confident, capable individual.

At WorkCastle, we organized our space in a Montessori-inspired way, providing children with ample opportunities to explore and learn independently. Teachers are there to offer assistance when needed, but the emphasis is on celebrating achievements and fostering a sense of pride in children's accomplishments.

By Maya Karelina

Co-founder, Vice President


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