It’s every parent’s job to ensure that their child grows up as a self-sufficient member of society, able to solve their own problems, and can navigate their way through life. This lesson isn’t taught overnight with a single lecture, but something your kid develops over the years.
As the parent, you can speed up or inhibit this process with your actions, whether intentional or not. Know how you can encourage your child to be more independent and allow them time and room to grow into their own person.
Allow Them To Form Their Own Opinions
The best way to help them forge their own opinions without influencing how they think is to ask them about their life. This doesn’t necessarily mean talking about hot-button political issues; it’s often as easy as asking them about school.
Ask them what subjects they’re studying, whether they enjoy them or not, and the reasons why they like or dislike them. It’s easy to let your own biases and thoughts intrude on the conversation but try to take a neutral stance and let them do most of the talking.
Let Them Take Charge of Their Wardrobe
Your kids spend their early years wearing the clothes you buy for them, but as they get older, they’ll develop their own style of dress. There are a few reasons to let them pick their clothes; among those reasons, it gives them the chance to experiment and discover their aesthetic tastes.
There’s a high likelihood they’ll pick out something that’s only going to embarrass them in the years to come. Let them figure that out on their own rather than making them pick something else. Failing, even when it’s something as small as picking clothes, can play a huge role in your children discovering their identity.
Ask Them To Help Keep Track of Chores and Shopping
Asking them to do some chores around the house can seem like you’re giving them commands. In a sense, it can take away their agency and make it seem as though they’re just doing what you tell them. But framed differently, you’re giving them responsibilities and making them accountable for certain jobs around the home.
Tell them it’s up to them to clean their bathroom, wash their clothes, or pick out what they want from the grocery store. If they fail to do something, then they’re the ones who must deal with the consequences.
Let Them Learn but Offer Support
There’s a fine line between taking a hands-off approach and throwing them to the wolves. Your kids will inevitably have questions, and you need to help them answer them. A part of encouraging your kids to be more independent is to help lead them to an answer rather than giving it to them outright. Let them think about the problem and have them help come up with a solution.