Independent kids are those that are able to think, act and pursue important things on their own autonomously.
Independent kids do not need the support from parents, guardians or even siblings.
At school, Independent kids are able to do their own research without expecting a teacher to give them all the background material they might need.
Being independent is a vital skill for people who want to take more control of their live.
Being more independent will give your kids the freedom to do what they want without caring about what others think.
Independent kids are also able to find original solutions to their problems.
Studies have also shown that the more independent a person is, the happier he/she feels! This is because we feel a sense of relief and joy when we can take our lives into our own hands.
Why Your Child Need To Be Independent
One of your most important goals as a parent must be to raise children who will become independent and self-reliant.
Certainly, in early years, your children will count on you and as infants; they will rely on you for nourishment, cleaning, and mobility.
As your children grow, they will become more independent in these basic areas of living, but will still depend on you for love, protection, guidance, and support.
As your children reach adolescence and come close to adulthood, they now will become less reliant on you and gain greater independence in all areas of their lives.
This process of separation prepares your children for the demands of adulthood.
But this progression toward adulthood is not inevitable and is often stymied by well-intentioned, but misguided parents.
To help you walk through this, you may like to consider few reasons why kids ought to be independent:
Independent kids Gain First-Hand Knowledge.
When children gain the chance to do things on their own, they are most likely to learn things efficiently. This is because they get to learn through trial and error.
Independence teaches children self-discipline. That is why you should not worry much, if they got to commit mistakes and face the consequences. Through these instances, children learn that there are consequences for every action taken.
Hence, they tend to think first next time they want to do something in mind.
Just let them learn from their mistakes.
2. Independent Boosts Kids Self-Esteem.
Do you remember the feeling you had last time you made a feat on your own? Children also feel same self-worth whenever they got to accomplish things on their own.
They become more confident in facing challenges, which is important in preparing them for real life trials. Moreover, they tend to have better social life.
3. It Prepares Children To Handle Failure And Stress.
Practicing children to handle stress is easy, if they have the chance to become independent.
Let them feel bad when they failed in accomplishing something.
Eventually, they will learn to take negative feelings lightly.
Just be there to advice, whenever they need to vent out stress.
4. Kids who are Independent have a choice.
Children need to practice to take choices. To develop their emotional maturity, they have to learn how to decide on their own.
For now, these choices would not have to come in wide variety.
Adults can give them set of choices. From these choices, children will have the freedom to pick one. Thus, they also learn that in life they cannot have everything. They only have the freedom to take choices.
Through independence, children got to enhance their skills, learn right and wrong, develop their personality, and take decisions. To learn the ways of life, children need to experience life.
This way, they will grow up strong, ready to take on life challenges, emotionally secured, and happy.
Contingent Vs. Independent Kids
Contingent kids are kids who are dependent on others for how they feel about themselves and react towards circumstances. This dependence is sometimes fostered by parents.
These parents act on their own needs for power and use control or coercion to ensure that they remain the dominant forces in their kids’ lives.
You can identify contingent children by looking at these:
• Depend on others to provide them with incentive to achieve.
• Depend on others for their happiness simply because they have no ownership of their lives and little responsibility for their own thoughts, emotions, and actions.
• Reinforced with improper rewards and no limits, and regardless of their behaviour.
• Poor decision makers because their parents hold the belief that they always know what is best thereby making decisions without soliciting their children’s wishes.
Independent children on the other hand, differ from contingent children in several essential ways. If your children are independent, then you have provided them with the belief that they are competent and capable of taking care of themselves.
You offered them the guidance to find activities that are meaningful and satisfying. You gave your children the freedom to experience life fully and learn its most important lessons.
Independent kids can be recognized in the following ways:
• Intrinsically motivated because they are allowed to find their own reasons to achieve.
• Were given the opportunity and guidance to explore achievement by engaging in pursuits of their own.
• Parents use extrinsic benefits appropriately and in moderation.
• Collaborative rather than a controlled relationship with their parents whereby the children’s ideas and wishes are solicited and considered.
• Good decision makers because they were allowed to consider various options and, with the support and guidance of their parents, make their own decisions.
How To Develop Independent Kids
It will be hard to hear, but the truth is that, there are times when your kids are better off without you.
As parents, we want nothing but the best for our children. Hence, we are so inclined in attending to their needs as a way to express our love. However, to give children the opportunity to become successful in life, we must teach them to be independent.
Whether you like it or not, there will be a day when your kids will not need you quite so much.
Therefore, it is important you do your best to ensure that you’re raising independent children.
Here are some practical strategies you can use on a daily basis to foster healthy independence in your child over time:
1. Offer choices
Have you at one time watched a child play with a much-loved toy, or make a beeline for their favourite person in the room? A child can have preferences and choose something over another from as young as a few months old.
You can start to inculcate the habit of good decision-making by offering your child age-appropriate choices.
As a general rule, the younger the child, the fewer the options offered so as not to confuse them. As your child shows maturity, it is possible to widen the range of choices available.
Creating frequent opportunities to exercise choice is important; as this gives your little one much needed practice in wise decision-making.
2. Affirm your child
A child needs self-confidence to blossom and become independent – which in turn stems from being encouraged and affirmed by the trusted adults in their lives.
Research has shown that children who are consistently affirmed have a healthier sense of self-worth and experience greater success in overcoming challenging situations.
Make it a personal goal to affirm your child daily. You may choose to praise their effort or positive attitude or even acknowledge a thriving character trait such as diligence or compassion.
However you choose to do it, you will give your child a much-needed emotional boost and make them more confident as they venture out as young adults.
3. Teach everyday skills and provide opportunities to use them
In our society where working parents is a commonality and paid help is abundant and affordable, it is not uncommon to have live-in helpers who take care of household matters.
Parents have to also think about how to strike a balance between a well-run home and giving their children the chance to pick up basic skills through doing household chores. To be able to practise and master these everyday skills will help your child become much more independent, and should begin from an early age.
A toddler can be taught to put away their own toys, while older children can help with laundry, cleaning floors, setting the table at mealtimes and even acquire simple cooking skills.
While your kids may pick up on some of these skills simply by watching you, they won’t learn everything through observation.
Proactively teach your kids how to manage a household and how to solve real-life problems.
Practice independent learning
The most effective ways to equip your child for future success is to help them to be lifelong learners. When it relates to academia, every parent dreads having to repeatedly nag at their children to complete their work.
When you do this regularly enough, children can become dependent on their parents to chase them – and forget about their work until the nagging starts!
To break out of this unwholesome cycle, teach your child the skills they need to be independent learners. Start by asking your child to evaluate their current progress, and where they feel that they need help.
Have a frank discussion on the possible ways they can get help. For some, home tuition may be the answer. For others, more regular revision, or even sourcing for online tutorials may be what is needed.
Finally, get your child to set their own personal goals that are related to effort and mastery of a subject, rather than merely grade-focused. For example, one target may be ‘to converse in English daily at home’ rather than ‘to score 80% in the oral examination’.
Your children will take ownership of their learning, and will be more likely to be proactive about it as well – the school vacations are a good time to start.
5. Teach Responsibility
One of your tasks as the parent is to teach your children about responsibility.
The most convenient way to ensure that you and your children assume the appropriate responsibilities is for each of you to know what your responsibilities are.
If you and your children have a clear understanding of what is expected of each of you, then it will be easier to stay within the confines of those responsibilities.
Make a list of what you as a parent will be doing to help your kids succeed.
Then, make a list with your children of what their responsibilities should be.
Next, identify other individuals who will have responsibilities in your children’s accomplishment, such as teachers, instructors, or coaches.
There should also be consequences for not fulfilling responsibilities.
The best consequences are the ones that remove something of importance to your children and provide them with the control to get it back by acting appropriately.
This process provides absolute clarity to both you and your children about what your “jobs” are. It also allows for no confusion at a later point when either of you step over the line or take for granted the other’s responsibilities or neglects their own.
6. Promote Exploration
Early in your children’s lives, you need to keep them on fairly short chains to ensure their safety. This care builds your child’s sense of security by teaching them that they have a safe place to return to if they venture too far and that you are there to protect them when needed.
There is, nonetheless, a fine line between security and dependence.
When your kids have established their sense of security, you must then encourage them to explore the world beyond the safety net which you provide.
This strategy allows your children to test their own capabilities in the “real world” and to find a sense of competence, security, and independence within themselves.
Begin personal planning:
Proceed from the visual routine and let your children start mapping out their days and weeks with more detail. A great way to get them enthusiastic about planning is to let them take the lead on some vacation activity-planning.
Remember to resist the urge to save the day. Kids are going to make mistakes and want to quit, but instead of swooping in and fixing it for them, give them the space they need to figure out solutions on their own.
8. Encourage your kids to Help Out
Doing household tasks shows responsibility. But going above and beyond regular household chores is a great way for your child to become more independent.
Teach your child to be given to the community in some way. Volunteering at an animal shelter, participating in community clean-up efforts, or fundraising for a good cause can help your child to feel more responsible—which will motivate him to behave more responsibly.
Giving to the community will help your son or daughter see that he has the power to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s good for his self-esteem and it will help him become a proactive adult who is invested in solving problems and aiding others.
9. Create a Schedule with Your child
The majority of kids have a lot going on and they need a little support with time management to behave responsibly.
Sit down together and look over your child’s schedule. Talk about how much time she should set aside for chores, homework, and extracurricular activities.
Talk about how she can create a schedule that works best for her.
While one child might want to do homework right after school, another one might want a break for an hour before delving back into work.
During the digital age, your child doesn’t necessarily need a paper calendar. She could possibly find an app or online calendar which will help give her the reminders she needs to be responsible.
When she forgets to do her chores or has to stay up late to get her homework done, look at her mistake as an opportunity to problem-solve how she can do better next time.
Helping her create a schedule for herself will train her the time management skills she needs to succeed in the adult world.
Indeed, a child does not become independent and self-reliant in a single day.
This is a gradual process that unfolds over time, as you constantly invest time and effort in equipping them with the skills and information they require to launch into the world as adults.
Try these practical techniques on a regular basis, and add your own as you go along – you’ll have a confident independent child as a result.
10. Be Clear With regards to Consequences
There will be times when your child makes mistakes or even on purpose breaks your rules. Make sure that her poor choices lead to negative consequences.
Logical consequences, like the loss of privileges, can be effective teachers.
Refrain from the urge to make excuses or rescue your child from her mistakes.
Sometimes, natural consequences can serve as the best reminders to make a better choice next time.
It’s hard to watch your child grow up and realize that she won’t be your little baby forever. However, you’re doing your child a disservice if you don’t instil a sense of responsibility.
The ability of children to hold themselves accountable for their actions is an important part of becoming independent.
In the long run, your child will thank you for turning her into a responsible and effective, independent adult.
Independence is not something that your children can gain on their own. They have neither the perspective, experience, nor skills to develop independence separately from you.
Rather, it is a gift you give your children that they need to cherish and benefit from their entire lives. You can provide your little one with several essential ingredients for gaining independence:
• Give your children love and respect.
• Show confidence in your children’s capabilities.
• Teach all of them that they have control over their lives.
• Provide instruction and then give them the freedom to make their own decisions.
What strategies have you been using for training kids to be independent?
Leave your answer in the comment space below.