Raising Independent Children

Raising Independent Children


Raising independent children requires confident, secure parents. The love we lavish on our children and the love and feeling of need received from our children brings joy to every parent. However, at each stage of a child's life, we as parents must recognize our children's ability to manage certain responsibilites for themselves and allow them that opportunity. It means knowing when to let go, to provide our children the chance to become independent.

Some parents feel so insecure that they fear there child will reject them for any reason. They abstain from disciplining their cildren for fear the chid might reject them. Instead they develop a friendship with the child. Or some insecure parents will feel the need to do everything for their children in hopes of securing a place in their children’s lives. On the contrary, by doing more for your child, you are actually expecting less from your child. As you child grows older, before you know it, your child will unintentionally:

  • Begin to take advantage of you.

  • Lose respect for you.

  • Make more demands on you.

  • Become more dependent on you.

  • Become incapable of taking care of him/herself.

    We as parents love our children, want the best for our children, and have the best of intentions for our children. This is a given. However, there are parental boundaries that every parent must maintain in raising independent children. You have to know when to stop making every choice or decision for your child. You have to know when to back off and allow your children to do things for themselves.

    The role of parents is to teach and guide/mentor children. It is of utmost importance that you teach appropriate behaviors and skills at each stage of your children’s lives. Take the time to teach them how to master the skills they need to navigate through life. Once the behavior is learned by your children, you the parent must observe your children execute what they learned. If they mess up, you assist by finding out where they went wrong, reteach and have them try again. Remember your children are in training to become an adult. They will mess up. Your job is to help them make the necessary adjustments, make sure they learn from the mess up and allow them the room to try again. This is the key to raising independent children.

    Research has shown that children who are raised to be independent are:

  • Higher achievers

  • More motivated

  • More self-confident

  • More likely to have a greater self-perception and higher self-esteem

  • Raising independent children doesn't mean you must stop doing for your children. It means you must know the limits. It means you must trust your children to make choices and watch them succeed. And when they fall short, support and encourage them but be ready to trust them again to make their own choices. If you have done your job in teaching your children, then trust your child to make independent decisions.

    By always providing a cushion for your children, they learn that you cannot trust them to make their own decisions, which undermines their level of confidence. You send an indirect message that they are not capable and will grow more and more dependent on you. Some parents like that up to a certain point. But when your children are grown and become adults and still cannot take care of themselves, you have no one else to blame but you.

    So how do you maintain these parental boundaries for raising independent children?

  • Take the time to teach your child. Whether it's teaching tem how to brush their teeth, how to study, drive a car, or make friends. And be patient! Remember what your role is. Your children didn't ask you to enter this world. It's your job to teach them to navigate through this life.

  • After teaching your children, make sure you feel confident that your children know and understand the skill or behavior you are teaching. Ask questions to get a sense of their level of understanding.

  • Don't be in such a hurry to do things for your child. Allow them to do it for themselves. Sometimes doing it yourself can save time. However, this is when you ned to take a deep breath and remember your objective - raising indepent children.

  • Trust your children's ability to do certain age appropriate tasks. This makes them feel highly capable. It strengthens their self-confidence when they realize that you have allowed them this privilege while standing on the sidelines to support them.

  • Remember we all learn from our mistakes. Don't put your children down when they mess up. Pick them up, dust them off, and give them some refresher notes. Then trust them once again to do it alone.

    When you have done your job in raising independent children, it gives you more peace of mind. You can rest assured that when your children are out in the world on their own they will be just fine. You will already know from observing them as they grew in your home, their ability to make sound decisions and excellent choices. You won't have to worry that they cannot take care of themselves.

    If you feel you need help raising independent children contact a parenting coach or please contact me.

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