Encourage autonomy in your children.
One of the most important goals as a parent is to help your child become an independent individual. Following the above six steps will guarantee that your child will be able to stand on their own two feet when the time comes.
Allowing your child to make choices from a young age will prepare them for the future, when they will have to make several choices every day.
Showing respect for their struggle and allowing them to have a personal life will allow them to test out their independence in a safe and healthy manner.
Letting them figure out the answers to their questions on their own will teach them to be resourceful. Furthermore, when you give immediate advice to children, they either feel stupid for not thinking of it themselves, resentful because they feel controlled, or irritated due to you stepping in.
Let your children make choices.
Allow them to gain experience in exercising their own judgement. Even something as small as choosing what color pants to wear counts!
Show respect for your child’s struggle.
Remind yourself that children have limitations, and show respect. For example, if they cannot tie their shoelaces, do not be condescending. Instead, be patient and acknowledge the fact that learning to tie shoelaces isn’t easy.
Similarly, allow your child to decide when they are ready to do something. Some children take longer to be emotionally and/or physically ready for milestones. Examples of milestones include learning to swim or not sucking their thumb anymore.
Allow them to have a personal life.
Refrain from asking your children too many questions—children will talk about what they want to talk about when they want to talk about it. Don’t invade their personal lives!
Also refrain from constantly adjusting their clothes, hair, etc. This is an invasion of their physical privacy.
Don’t rush to answer questions.
Young children are often full of questions. Instead of handing them the answers every time, give them the chance to explore and think about all the possible answers first.
This includes giving them advice about their problems. Give them time to figure it out before stepping in.
Encourage children to use sources outside the home.
Your children are not completely dependent on you. The world outside your home— school, the dentist, a friend—can help them with their problems too.
Don’t talk about a child in front of them.
When you talk about your child to someone while they are there, they will feel more like an object, or a possession of their parents. Encourage independence and autonomy by allowing them to speak for themselves.
Don’t take away hope.
Even if your child comes to you with a ridiculous statement—such as a 3-year-old saying that she wants to be a babysitter—encourage them. Ask them more about it. Allow them to hope and dream!
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