Raising an Independent Kid
Giving your kids the skills and confidence they need to think for themselves and make sound decisions will help them resist peer pressure, succeed in school, and thrive as they reach adulthood. Equip your kids for independence with these strategies.
Set Clear Boundaries. This may seem counterintuitive, but children need boundaries. It helps them understand right and wrong and gives them a sense of security, which in turn gives them the confidence and values they need to take appropriate risks and make good decisions. Let your children know what you expect, and what the consequences are for breaking the rules.
Also explain to your children why you have made certain rules. This will allow them to start thinking logically about and understanding their behavior and its consequences, providing a necessary framework for sound decision making skills.
Interject, Don't Always Intervene. If your children are fighting or your child is having a disagreement with a friend, don't immediately intervene to fix the situation. Interject some thoughts and guidance, but don't do the work for your child. He needs to learn conflict resolution skills and to be able to solve problems for himself.
To help the process, ask your child questions that may give her necessary insight. "Why do you think he is mad at you?" "How would you feel if that happened to you?" Guide your children to the proper response.
Note: Younger children (toddlers and preschoolers) will need you to intervene. Start explaining situations and consequences to your children from a young age, and let them solve problems as they enter elementary school, but younger children will still need you to step in and help resolve the situation.
Allow Mistakes. If you have perfectionist tendencies, don't extend them to your children. When mistakes are made, allow consequences and point out what your child did wrong, but also affirm what she did right. Let her know that you love her, mistakes and all. Take the opportunity to help your child see what can be done better next time.
Raising an independent kid is all about boundaries and guidance. Give your kids boundaries so that they'll feel secure and confident, then guide their decisions and their actions, let them experience the consequences of their decisions, but always affirm them and let them know that you love them, no matter what.