One of your most important goals as a parent is to raise children who become independent and self-reliant people. Certainly, in early development, your children count on you. As infants, they rely on you for nourishment, cleaning, and mobility. As your children grow, they become more independent in these basic areas of living, but still depend on you for love, protection, guidance, and support. As your children reach adolescence and move toward adulthood, they become less reliant on you and gain greater independence in all aspects of their lives. This process of separation prepares your children for the demands of adulthood. But this progression toward adulthood is not inevitable and is often stymied by well-intentioned but misguided, parents.
Here are four tips to raise independent children:
1. Create an Independent Environment: Let children help themselves. Don’t help them unless they exhausted all possibilities of doing the job themselves.
2. Acknowledge an Accomplishment: Praise children for completing the task on their own. This can be any task, no matter how small it might seem.
3. Find the Courage to Let Go: Parents need to show confidence in their child’s ability. Show tremendous courage by letting your child pursue their goals. It is easy to say, but sometimes this could be the biggest act of love one could ever give a child.
4. Learning Opportunity: By constantly doing things for a child, a parent robs them of learning opportunities. Every experience is a learning opportunity. Things adults barely notice can be interesting to children. For example, something as simple as putting toys in basket or book on the shelves can help to build organizing skill development.
In addition, the older children get, the more they realize that they are separate individuals. With that growing identity, they start to wish that they can do more things on their own. Parents need to help them. Because the greatest gift a parent can pass on to any child is independence. That is something that will greatly contribute to their success later in school and life. When a child is feeling independent, he will learn life skills that will boost his self-confidence, but also allow him to feel empowered.
We all want our children to grow up and become independent adults. But figuring out how to get them there can be very challenging. Parents can take simple steps that help devise an environment that leads to a child’s independence. How and when parents train their children to be independent depends on their specific circumstances, but these simple steps can help parents make their children more independent.