Raising a Child to Be Independent

Raising a child to be independent is a challenge, as children are vulnerable beings who must be protected at all costs. However, they also need space to do things for themselves.
Raising a Child to Be Independent

Last update: 08 November, 2022

Raising a child to be independent is of the most important objectives for parents. However, it isn’t a particularly easy task.

Naturally, parents want children to ultimately be able to cope on their own. Nevertheless, they often find achieving it to be extremely challenging and make frequent mistakes along the way.

However, with a little knowledge, intelligence, effort, and willpower, it’s totally achievable. In fact, in this article, you’ll find some guidelines to help. Firstly, we’ll identify the difference between a dependent and an independent child.

A child eating.

Independent vs. dependent children

Children who haven’t been taught independence usually share some common characteristics. The most common is the need for approval from others in order to feel good about themselves. In fact, their self-esteem isn’t stable enough because they’re dependent upon other people’s opinions.

Furthermore, these children need others to tell them:

  • What goals to set.
  • How to be happy.
  • How they should behave.

For this reason, they often find themselves feeling emotionally frustrated. In fact, they trust others more than themselves.

The main way in which parents raise their children to be too dependent is by overusing negative emotions. For example, they may tell the child that their wishes aren’t important. Or they tell them that they aren’t as worthy or deserving as other children.

Independent children

On the other hand, independent children usually have the necessary tools to get ahead and move forward in their daily lives.

One of the aspects that differentiates them from dependent children is the fact that they’re competent and able to take care of themselves. Consequently, they’re able to take risks and learn from their mistakes when they do something wrong or fail.

As they get older, these children are the ones who show higher rates of intrinsic motivation. In other words, they decide what they want to achieve and why. This way, they’re able to achieve their goals more easily. Furthermore, they’re usually happier in the long run.

It seems clear that raising an independent child is always a desirable achievement. However, how do you do it? Read on.

Guidelines for raising an independent child

Raising a child to be independent is an art. It also requires a great deal of patience and effort. Nevertheless, as you’ve seen, it brings many rewards. If you want your child to grow up happy, trust themselves, and have a good self-esteem, try to implement the following guidelines:

Encourage effort

One of the most important traits of independent people is that they’re able to fight to get what they want. In general, it isn’t easy to achieve our goals. For this reason, you must instill perseverance in your children so they don’t give up.

You can do this in many ways, depending on the age of your child. Remind them of the importance of effort. Encourage them to look for reinforcing tasks. Suggest they take on jobs for pocket money as a way of introducing them to the world of work. This also gives them a degree of financial independence. Remind them that failure often precedes success and defeats are a good opportunity for reflection. In fact, encourage them to do anything that helps them in their development.

Give unconditional love

It’s imperative for your child to feel supported by you at all times. This doesn’t mean you can’t punish them, scold them, or get angry with them. However, if you do, they must always know that you love them. Furthermore, that you’re always there for them, unconditionally.

Probably the most difficult aspect of raising an independent child is striking a balance between giving them unconditional love and encouraging them to keep striving. Nevertheless, if you’re successful, your child will eventually achieve independence.

A child and his mother.

Manage their fears

Finally, in raising a child to be independent, you must help them achieve emotional independence. Fear is the one feeling that makes us dependent. For this reason, you must help your child manage their fears. Show them how to manage uncertainty and successfully calculate risks.

These guidelines will help you raise your child to develop into happy and functional adults. However, if you still have any doubts about how to go about it, there are many resources available. Any one of them can be a good starting point.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.