How to Raise an Independent Child

There comes a time as a parent when you roll your eyes as your child tries to do everything themselves, leaving you with your hands in the air. This is actually a great thing as your child learns to be independent. Children are able to grow and flourish into independent young humans with your help. It can be tough to watch as they figure it out, but you can do it. We’ve got a few things you need to know about how to raise an independent child.

Why is it important for a child to be independent

Independence promotes confidence and motivation when the child is in school years. They’re better able to feel in control of their life to make the best decisions for themselves. They feel empathy for others, so they’re better able to help others find their own independence. This quality leads a child to find other qualities like patience, self-trust and concentration.

If a child never learns for themselves and never stands on their own two feet because the parent is doing everything for them and making every choice for them, they’ll never be able to go into the real world. The real world will be something “fake” to them as they’ve always been guarded from it. Once they’re able to see the real world is something they can handle, they’re able to grab independence by the horns.

While it’s hard to stand aside letting children figure things out and letting them “grow up,” it’s best to let them feel as if they’re in control of their life. The parent will be the one guiding and disciplining the child, but letting them find their own independence at the same time.

How to raise an independent child

Raising independent children doesn’t mean you sit back as a parent and don’t step in. They’re going to fall at times. They’re going to succeed. It’s important to be there every step of the way. This is one of the best gifts you’ll ever give your children.

The most important thing to do is show your children love and respect. Stand beside them with confidence as they show off their capabilities. Children need responsibility so they feel in control. Talk to them about the expectations you have for them as person. They also need consequences when they do not fulfill these responsibilities. This is giving them the independence to make their own choices knowing if they fall short of your expectations, there will be consequences.

Your job

Your job is to give them the opportunity and support to pursue their goals in life.

You also need to give them love and guidance along the way.

The child must step up to use these tools in their life. They have to be committed, disciplined and responsible for their choices. It’s important to help them do these things by demanding accountability. This means you don’t let children think nothing is their fault. Society lets children feel as if they can rationalize their bad behavior. It’s best that children learn to be held accountable for their actions.

Loosen the leash

Let kids explore. They should learn that you’re there to protect them, but they can explore outside your safety net. This means they can test their own abilities as they get a little older. This helps them find independence to let go of your hand and be their own person.

Encourage your children

Why is it important to encourage children? Children thrive on encouragement. They become self-motivated when their choices are encouraged and supported. When they’re supported, children have confidence and feel good about themselves. As a young child, this encouragement goes with them into young adulthood. This does not mean a child needs to be rewarded for every little thing or they may avoid activities when they don’t get rewarded. They may also feel as if they don’t have as much control. Praise and encouragement is best when it’s focused on their efforts. They may not be the best soccer player on the team, but it’s important a parent encourages the child to do their very best. They might start to understand they aren’t going to be a professional soccer star, but they’ll find comfort and confidence in the encouragement.

What Age Should A Child Be Independent

Independence for a child doesn’t mean you let them start going to the grocery store alone at age five. It means the child learns different levels of independence as they get older.

So, what can we do to raise a independent child at different ages?

Age: Pre-K

It might be tough to let your child walk into the door of a friend’s home without you. Give them time away from you without watching their every move. Let them play with friends away from you. Trust another parent to watch your child for a few hours. They probably won’t even notice you aren’t there.

Age: 6 and up
Walk To A Friend’s House

If your child’s friend lives down the block, let them walk to their house without you. You can even hide behind a trash can or stand at your door, but let them feel like they’re in control. If you’re not ready to let them walk down the street, let them play in your yard without you standing there. The child will feel like they have superpowers that they get to walk down the block and into their friend’s house without you holding their hand. They’ll have no idea if you’re texting the other parent the entire time.

Age: 7 and up
Go To Camp

Let the kids go to a daily camp during the summer or even a little sleepaway camp. You’ll know if your child is ready and can make it through the night. The pro for you is that caregivers will be watching your child throughout the time they are there. The pro for the child is they feel independent away from their parents.
Send your kid to camp, sleepaway or not

Age: 7 and up
The Next Aisle

Let your child wander to the next aisle at the grocery store. Give them an item on your list to get for you. Let them count the money or decide which crackers to buy. This is a life-changing time for them. They feel like they’re a true adult getting to choose things and do real things.

Age: 11 to 14
Go To An Event With Friends

This is the time when kids start learning real independence as they get to go to the movies, a football game or an event with friends without you. You can stand back watching them, but let them hang out with their friends. Make sure you trust their friends, but also talk to your kids about choosing good friends. This is the first time they’ll be in change of the money and choices like which candy to have at the movies. These little things make a big impact.

Age: 18+
Go To College

This is the one you dread. You’re letting your child leave your home for college. If you’ve raised them with encouragement and discipline, they’ll be fully independent and ready to hit the college scene with a good head on their shoulders. All of their “training” will pay off as they walk into the real world with their head held high.

There’s no perfect way to raise an independent child. Encourage independence and loosen your lash at a young age so the child learns as they grow with you. Independence is one of the most important things you can give to your child. Your child will become a strong, capable young adult ready to conquer the world.

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