Creative Child

Training My Child to Be Independent

by Sarah Lyons on Jul 6th, 2017

Continued...

Give opportunities

Give your child more opportunities to be independent as they mature. This may look different depending on your child’s age and maturity but some ideas may be ordering and paying for their food at a restaraunt, riding their bike home from school, packing their own lunch, or trying a new extracurricular activity. Each opportunity, even a challenging one, helps your child become self-sufficient and develop more independence.

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Problem solve

Elementary school kids will begin to face bigger problems that may include challenging friendships, struggles with schoolwork, or even bullying. Foster good communication with your child and help them come up with solutions they are comfortable with. Cheer them on when they are able to work through obstacles.

Bonus tip for the elementary school years

Do your best not to criticize your child’s efforts but instead praise them for doing their best.

The teen years (ages 12-18)

Create a helper

Tweens and teens should be given even more household responsibilities as they are nearing adulthood. Take note of what skills it takes to run a household and begin to teach them these tasks. Cooking, yard work, babysitting, laundry, car care, and even a part time job fall into this category. The more responsibilities your child is comfortable while in your home will make the transition to living on their own smoother.

Give opportunities

There is a fine line between giving your child independence and keeping them safe in the teen years. As kids start to drive, spend more time with friends, and work outside the home parents have less control over their choices. Continue working on open communication and trust with your teen so that as they venture into the world, you both feel comfortable with the change.

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Problem solve

One of the hardest things kids have to experience is the consequences for a poor choice. A parent’s first reaction may be to step in and “save” their child but, in the long run, this does not teach them anything. For example, if you child left their homework at home they will not receive credit for the work. The easy thing to do would be to run the assignment to the school, but chances are your child will forget again and most likely, on a larger assignment. As adults we have to manage our responsibilities and teens must also learn these lessons. If forgotten homework is repeatedly an issue, suggest packing up the night before. Sit down with your child and help them come up with solutions to problems and encourage them to do this without you and present their solution to you.

Bonus tip for the teen years

Set specific household rules so that your child has the opportunity to be independent but not out of your comfort zone as a parent.

As our children grow, so must their responsibilities. As always, you will be there to guide and train them but giving your child tools throughout their childhood will help them grow into a confident and independent adult.

Sarah Lyons is a stay at home wife and mother of six children, including 18 month old triplets. Using creative consequences with her kids has improved their behavior and encourages healthy relationships with each other.

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