Children require love, support, and respect in order to develop their independence, which is a crucial step on their path to adulthood. Setting clear rules, entrusting them with responsibility, and fostering decision-making skills are all beneficial for achieving independence. Of course, some conflict is natural but it is best to handle it constructively. Here are some tips on how to encourage your child to be independent.
What You, as a Parent, Can Do to Help
During their journey to adulthood, young people need to become more independent, try new things, make their own decisions, and come up with their own solutions to problems they face. Unless you feel your child may be putting themselves or others at risk, there are many benefits to encouraging your child’s decisions, whether they are fashion choices or something seemingly more detrimental to their development. This is also a great opportunity to teach your child to take responsibility for their actions and to learn from their mistakes.
Of course, your child needs rules and boundaries to keep them safe, as well as to ensure they behave responsibly and with respect. The rules you set will depend on your family’s circumstances, your child’s personality, and their needs. As your child grows and matures, the rules may need to change. Aim to set clear, fair boundaries that respect their needs and feelings and are consistent in their use. This will give your child a clear and safe environment in which to explore their developing sense of self.
Ways in Which You Can Encourage Independence
- Allow them to make their own way to school if this is possible.
- Encourage them to be involved in family decisions such as meal planning and shopping.
- Give them choices about decisions they need to make (for example - if you need to take them somewhere ask if they would like you to drop them near the venue to avoid ridicule from peers).
- Take their problems seriously - it might not seem a big deal to you, but it may be to them. Listen and give advice if they ask for it, encourage them to explore solutions and discuss them, and respect their privacy.
- Encourage family time to provide a safe and reliable place to relax, joke with siblings and parents and share their day's experience.
We hope this article helps you encourage your child to be independent. If you want to find out more about Mentora Gymnasium, you can make an appointment and visit our school or take part in one of the regular open days we host.