Training Your Kids to Be More Independent

If you’re a parent, you probably read stories online about adult children still living in their parents’ basement and think, “That will never be my kids.” But the fact is, their parents probably thought the same thing at one point.

Possibly the greatest attribute you can give your children is the ability to be independent. But this isn’t something that you start trying to develop in their late teenage years and it’s not a trait that they are going to just pick up on their own.

With that in mind, here are some tips on how to help train your kids from early on to be more independent:

  • Do some soul-searching—First off, you need to determine if you are the biggest hindrance to your child’s independence. Ask yourself, honestly, if you find yourself doing tasks for your child just because it’s easier to do it yourself. If that’s the case, then you will need to change some things in your own life to make sure that you can help them become independent.
  • Chores are a good thing—The next thing you need to do is determine what chores your child can conceivably do at their age. Even smaller children can still be expected to do things like picking up their toys and putting them away. As they get older, tasks such as making the bed, dressing, and brushing their teeth on their own can be added. As they develop more and more responsibility, you can “take the training wheels off” and expect them to do these tasks without being reminded. This establishes early on that you expect them to do things by themselves and that these will eventually have to be done without you having to hound them about it.
  • So is failure—Another thing that parents have to get over is the idea that their children should never fail at something. This is totally unrealistic. We all fail sometimes, and the truly mature adult is the one who can learn from his or her failures and ensure that they don’t follow this same path again. If you are a helicopter parent who swoops in to rescue your child every time it looks like they are going to mess up or fail, then you will probably spend the rest of your life doing just this. Failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Independence is something that every parent wants for their children. But in order to make your child responsible, it’s necessary for you to loosen the reins and let them get out there themselves and fail if possible. If you have teenagers and you insist on doing everything for them and protect them from every potential negative consequence, then you may want to go ahead and clean a space out for them in the basement because it might be a while before they get out on their own.


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