Tips: Building Independence in Kids
Dr. Dale V. Atkins, June 2007
Don't Be Available 24/7
Most parents want to be caring and attentive. However, it is easy to overdo it. These days, with the ubiquitous cell phone, text messaging and pagers, parents can reach their kids anytime, anywhere and check in on any number of matters, warranted or not. It is important to provide your children space so they can grow and develop self-confidence and self-management skills.
Consider the following tips:
• Teach Positive Self-Talk - Children can internalize comforting statements their parents would say, and draw upon these in times of anxiety. "I can do this." "I know I am smart." "I can learn this if I practice."
• Build Independence Skills - Start by doing things for your kids. Then move on to doing these things with your kids. Next, watch them doing these, and finally, get to a place where they will do things on their own. Your role is to teach and then have them learn and step back so they can absorb.
• Teach the Basics - Give you children age-appropriate responsibilities around the house that will prepare them to take care of themselves when they are on their own.
• Be the Coach - Rather than trying to take care of a problem for your children, listen, guide and encourage them to try alternative actions to address the matter.
Everyone needs space in order to grow.