Independence is the freedom from the control, influence, support or aid of others. As parents our ulimate responsibility and goal should be to help our children to move from a level of dependence to interdependence and eventually interdependence. Here are 7 steps to help us to help our children in their quest for independence.
Depend On Your Kids For Help
- First responders are the people when call on first when we need help. Many times instead of interrupting our child’s life we just carry the load ourselves.
- We tend to turn to our spouses when we need relief in the family and maybe we should be turning to our children more.
- If mom and dad can’t handle it, then it’s time to allow the kids to help more.
- To Do- Let your kids help to serve you more. Quit doing it all! When you need an errand run ask the teen that drives. When you need the dishes done, have the kids do it.
Ask More Questions Than You Answer
- You’re not supposed to be the repository of knowledge where they go for wisdom...Instead you’re supposed to be the guidepost, that shows where to turn.
- Instead of answering questions and gathering our self esteem from knowing the answers, let’s get our self esteem from seeing our kids figure out their own answers.
- To Do’s- Turn their questions to you into opportunities to learn about them and for them to learn about themselves. When
Embrace Their individuality
- People need to have the freedom to exercise their agency on certain parts of their existence.
- The more they get to practice making choices, the better they get at making choices.
- There are very natural consequences to the clothes, hair and other choices that they make.
- To Do’s- Let your kids choose their hair style, clothing, the way they decorate their room, etc.
Let Them Help You Solve Problems
- Kids need to learn how to think through a problem and come up with their own answers.
- The more we involve our kids in age appropriate problems, the better touches they will at handling problems before they need to leave your house.
- Even though the answers may be very easy for you, let your children figure things out.
- To Do’s- Let your children figure things out. Leave them with the problem and let them watch how you work you way through it. Let the 10 year, stack the Tupperware. Let the teen who has a car figure out how to get the other kids to their practices in the afternoon.
Let Them Earn and Pay Their Own Way
- Life is about working and paying.
- Kids need to learn how to work and make a living and there is so much more about paying bills then just.
- To Do’s- Allow your kids to see the benefits of being able to make their own money and the freedom to spend it their way. Help them set goals, earn money and feel the joy of knowing they can have the things they really want in the world.
Balance Responsibility & Benefit
- Kids need to learn the power of responsibility and that with every benefit they pick up, responsibility is attached.
- To Do’s- If a child wants to drive, then he also needs to learn to wash the car, pay some insurance, get the inspections and emissions. If a child wants to have a bicycle then he may need to clean the garage to put it in.
Shine a Light On Their Growth
- Kids need to hear what they’re doing right and well.
- By shining a light on what they do well we give them a sense of success which motivates more success.
- Light begets light.
- Growth builds confidence and confidence is what is needed in making it through a crazy life.
- To Do’s- Point out how well they do everything we list above.
- Thank them for their help, celebrate their style, take their solutions, honor where they spend their well earned money and appreciate their growing responsibility.
By Matt Townsend
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