HOW TO RAISE INDEPENDENT CHILDREN
The ultimate goal of raising children is to make them independent. As children grow up, they need to learn how to make their own decisions based on who they are and what they want. From picking out their own clothes to choosing a college that suits them, every little decision they make, right or wrong, is a learning experience that helps them become independent adults.
Here are a few tips that can help your child embrace independence:
1.Teach responsibility. When your child has a clear understanding of what is expected from her, then it is easier to fulfill her responsibilities. Together, come up with a list of realistic expectations. Let her know what will happen if she does not do what she is supposed to. For instance, she may lose something of importance to her. Give her a chance to get it back by acting appropriately.
2. Encourage exploration. While parents need to make sure the child is safe, it is essential to allow her to explore her environment freely. This "push out of the nest" allows your child to test her own capabilities in the "real world" and to find a sense of competence, security, and independence within herself.
3. Show confidence in your child’s capabilities. View your child as a unique person and do not compare her to friends or siblings. Instead, focus on your child’s strengths and be supportive of her interests. When your child fails or makes a mistake, focus on solutions rather than retribution.
4. Promote problem solving. When a problem arises, it is an opportunity to come up with solutions. Resist the urge to jump in and to fix. Instead, ask open-ended questions. For instance, “How can you make sure you get up in time to catch the bus in the morning?”
5. Take time for training. Each week, encourage your child to learn something new in an engaging way. As a child learns new skills and tasks, she feels more confident in learning the next one. Who knows, she may even help you learn something new!
Parents’ responsibilities revolve primarily around providing your child with the opportunity and support to pursue her goals. Emotional support includes providing love, guidance, and encouragement in her efforts. Practical support includes ensuring that your child has the materials needed, proper instruction, and transportation, among other logistical concerns.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.