As a parent one of your foremost responsibilities is to teach your kids to be independent. It is a double edged sword as on the one hand, you don’t really want to let them go while on the other you know you have to encourage them to do just that. From the time you first sent them to school you felt this paradox and now that they are older, you know you have an even greater responsibility. Here’s how you can encourage your kids to be more independent.
In case you haven’t already done so, give them an allowance. Your kids need to have their own money to blow up or save. Usually, they learn a lot about making decisions when it’s their own dough that’s on the line. They may also pick up useful lessons about saving and budgeting.
As they get older, assign your children responsibility. For example, you could make them responsible for the family pet. So if one day they forget to take the dog out, they have to clean up the resultant mess that takes place inside. Understanding that they own the responsibility of the task helps them gain independence.
To give them a taste of the real world, encourage your kids to make their doctor’s appointments and family dinner reservations. They will get the confidence to talk appropriately on the phone and get an idea of what’s its like to be an adult and do adult things.
Rather than deciding things for themselves, encourage them to make the choices themselves. When it comes to finalizing their subjects in school, force them to introspect and figure out what they want to do. It could even be deciding how to spend a family weekend.
For a while, as parents we find ourselves constantly working with our kids to help them with their schoolwork and school projects. At some point you have to let go and let them do it themselves. Hold them responsible for their grades but permit them to succeed or fail on their own.
Most kids are excited to go out with friends without any chaperons around and if your child doesn’t really want to do these things, it is your responsibility as a parent to encourage him or her to do so. It is only when an individual goes out on his own with no one to protect him does he learn how to stand on his own two feet.
As difficult as it is do this, it is vitally important to allow your children to make mistakes, as this is the key to becoming more independent individuals. Constantly protecting them from a fall helps them in the short run but does a disservice in the long run.
Encouraging your kids to be independent begins when they first enter pre-school. Lessons will get tougher as they get older but through it all, you know you are fulfilling your obligation as a parent.
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