When they were a newborn, babies relied on their parents for survival. But in a blink of an eye, they learn to walk, to talk, and soon they start to flourish in their own identity and independence.
The process is familiar and sometimes it can be hard for parents to let go. But loving our children also means letting go.
If all goes according to plan, children will grow up to become self-sufficient, independent individuals. But how do we impart independence?
Here are 6 ways you can do to raise independent children.
Don’t Be Their ‘Secretary’
It starts out as helping out with something simple like remembering their school work for them.
What if “my child hasn’t written it down in the diary,” what if “mine hasn’t got it right,” what if “they left their books in class and need a photo of the pages they have to study”?
Whatever the reason, it starts to snowball and parents kept helping. Part of being a parent is to help our children but helping them in something that they can do on their own can be destructive. They become too reliant which affects their developmental and emotional health.
First of all, we are robbing them of the opportunity to make up for their mistakes and learn from them. In addition, the child will end up believing that they are not capable of doing things on their own, or in worst cases, simply becoming a spoiled child.
In order for them to grow out of relying on their parents, the primary job as a parent is to let go and let them learn complete independence. In order for that to happen, children will have to go through uncomfortable situations.
Assign Them Responsibilities
Often, parents avoid giving their children important responsibilities or tasks because how can we trust that they are able to carry out the tasks efficiently? This can actually instill a sense of helplessness in children because they will believe that they are unable to have responsibilities.
To eliminate this, it is important for parents to take the time out and teach them these responsibilities. While a task may sound easy to you, many parents tend to forget that children need instructions and reminders! It might also take some time as well as repetitions before they will understand.
For example, preparing and packing a school bag. How often have we run after our children when we realize that they have forgotten their school lunch at home? How often have we prepared their backpack to ensure they haven’t left anything important behind?
It should be their own responsibility to remember that they need to pack their lunch and their bag.
Try to trust in your child and gently teach them how to organize themselves. Give them the opportunity to take on responsibilities.
Remember: there is nothing more destructive than doubt, and hiding it under care and protection is the biggest mistake you can make as a parent.
Let Them Have Their Say
Too often, children are repressed and inhibited in expressing their opinions because adults are not always interested in what they think or have trouble understanding the mindset of younger generations.
But when we encourage children to express their opinion on a subject, their opinion should be considered and taken into account in the family. It is important to keep an open mind.
By doing this, we strengthen their self-esteem and foster the development of essential life skills, such as decision-making, initiative, critical thinking, and assertiveness.
Don’t Do Their Homework for Them
Another mistake parents tend to make is helping out with school homework. I am not talking about tutoring them or guiding them. I am talking about spoonfeeding them the answers or even completing the homework for them. When it comes to homework, ideally it should be completed by themselves.
But for students who are not academically inclined, it is extremely stressful for them when it comes to homework. For example, many students may find it difficult to write a composition due to being weak in English. So how can you help but also not be too involved? You may try engaging essay writing services to use as reference only OR you can engage an English tutor.
Working together with the tutor can help you detach yourself from being too helpful and yet help your child in achieving better grades. It will also stop you from helping too much with their homework.
In short, it is best not to intervene (if you are unable to stop spoonfeeding) to encourage their sense of responsibility, effort, and study habits.
Let Them Experiment Freely
“Don’t do this,” “don’t touch that,” “don’t play with the mud, you’ll get dirty,” “don’t jump in the puddle”… children’s daily lives are full of prohibitions and “don’ts” that prevent them from experimenting and learning from other perspectives.
Let your children experiment and explore the world around them. In the end, playing in a puddle on a sunny day will only cost you a pack of clothes to clean in exchange for a new and fun experience for your small child.
Don’t Clip the Wings of Their Creativity
Children are naturally curious and creative, but this innate gift they are born with is lost or repressed over time, influenced by their environment, family, and school.
Although there are subjects in schools that encourage children’s creativity, the truth is that it is never enough. That is why, when our children get home, we must allow them to continue creating and learning as they wish, with ideas that do not numb their imagination and their innate ability to seek their own solutions to problems.
Allowing them to explore their own creativity gives them the space to grow and be independent.
It feels great when children turn to us for guidance. Until they become an adult, most likely they will still need us for different kinds of support. However, as parents, our goal is to make sure that children grow up to be independent thinkers and be confident in who they are.
While that may come with the heartache of letting go, it can be very fulfilling to watch them grow into their own person.
We hope that this article has helped you!