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Raising Independent Kids

Posted by on Jul. 29, 2014 at 1:53 PM
  • 4 Replies
2 moms liked this

  How to Raise Independent Kids

by Amy Oztan

Fiona on subwayMy goal has always been raising kids who can take care of themselves (and, eventually, me). Kids don’t start learning to be independent when they’re teenagers, they start long before they actually have to get along on their own.

There are simple things that you can do to help your kids be more independent. And hey, anything your kids can do for themselves, that’s one less thing you have to do!

Make them ask for things themselves. It can be so tempting in a restaurant or store to speak for your child, especially if she’s shy. But making your children ask for things themselves is a great way to build their confidence. If they want more napkins, they can ask for more napkins.

Don’t ever sneak out on them. I know how tempting it can be to quietly open then door and take off while your child is happily playing with the babysitter. So much easier than saying goodbye and risking them crying and begging you to stay, right? But don’t do it! You’ll teach your child not to trust you, and the next time the sitter comes over, your little darling will be wailing and clinging to your leg. Instead, teach him that when you leave, you come back.

Let them struggle. It doesn’t matter whether it’s tying a shoe, doing a math problem, or climbing up to the monkey bars. The sense of accomplishment your child will get when she finally does a thing on her own will give her more self-confidence than anything you could ever say. Step back and let her struggle.

Listen to their cues. When your child indicates that he wants more responsibility or freedom, listen to him! If your reaction is always “He’s not ready,” maybe it’s you who isn’t ready, and that’s not really fair. If he’s asking for more responsibility, he’s probably ready for some. That doesn’t mean you have to hand over the car keys when he’s ten, but there’s probably something you can let him do that will build up his confidence (and yours).

Let them screw up. Messing up doesn’t mean that your child wasn’t ready to do something. How many times have you nailed something new on the first try? Let him learn from his mistakes and try again. That’s the only way he’ll learn to adapt.

What are your tips for raising an independent child?

by on Jul. 29, 2014 at 1:53 PM
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Replies (1-4):
kirbymom
by Sonja on Aug. 19, 2014 at 2:19 PM
I agree with this. Although I am not sure that I fully agree with the not leaving when they aren't looking scenario.
craftyzenmom
by Member on Aug. 19, 2014 at 4:24 PM
1 mom liked this

Natural Consequences are the best teacher I've found.... My boys started high school this week after homeschooling for four years and they're doing great BUT I did get a phone call that first day "Mom I forgot my AP English book on the coffee table, can you bring it down?" Nope, sorry. Told him he needed to explain to the teacher if necessary and figure it out and he did and the world did not end. Later on the same day he decided he'd had it with is locker that wasn't working, he'd already been told by one person to live with it, but he went to the student servies office and advocated for a new one and got it. So far, so good- I think the points above are all correct and we need to leave our comfort zone sometimes in order to let them spread their wings. My daughter - who is 11 and still homeschooled - loves to ride the Trolley around town where her grandparents live, the first time she did it by herself I was super nervous. Now, she has a phone with her, she's on a first name basis with the driver (whom I know as well) and is able to move about the small town independently. She gives directions to tourists and thinks of herself as the town greeter. She knows how to be safe and where to go if she needs help, there are lots of options for her, no matter where she might be in town - we know different shop owners, police, firemen etc.... It's been a great learning experience for her.

kirbymom
by Sonja on Aug. 19, 2014 at 4:40 PM
1 mom liked this
"It's been a great learning experience for her." ...

I thunk it is a great learning experience for us parents as well. Especially for those of us who are afraid to let go. Speaking for myself here. :)


Quoting craftyzenmom:

Natural Consequences are the best teacher I've found.... My boys started high school this week after homeschooling for four years and they're doing great BUT I did get a phone call that first day "Mom I forgot my AP English book on the coffee table, can you bring it down?" Nope, sorry. Told him he needed to explain to the teacher if necessary and figure it out and he did and the world did not end. Later on the same day he decided he'd had it with is locker that wasn't working, he'd already been told by one person to live with it, but he went to the student servies office and advocated for a new one and got it. So far, so good- I think the points above are all correct and we need to leave our comfort zone sometimes in order to let them spread their wings. My daughter - who is 11 and still homeschooled - loves to ride the Trolley around town where her grandparents live, the first time she did it by herself I was super nervous. Now, she has a phone with her, she's on a first name basis with the driver (whom I know as well) and is able to move about the small town independently. She gives directions to tourists and thinks of herself as the town greeter. She knows how to be safe and where to go if she needs help, there are lots of options for her, no matter where she might be in town - we know different shop owners, police, firemen etc.... It's been a great learning experience for her.

mollymcleod
by Member on Aug. 19, 2014 at 6:18 PM
I agree with this post.
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