Raising independent kids can be difficult, but our tips can help!

The greatest gift my mother ever gave me was a sense of independence.

She readily admitted when she couldn’t provide an answer and she did something that, now at 29, I know to be invaluable: she taught me how to develop a strategy to figure things out for myself

The times when I’ve felt most empowered were the moments when I had nothing but will power, faith and a vision to fall back on. My journey through motherhood has been dedicated to molding two young women who are secure enough to trust love, and fearless enough to trust their gut.

That’s no easy task but the life-long commitment, at least for me, started with seemingly small but powerful lessons of independence.

Here are a few I still hold with me ‘til this day:

1. Define independence for yourself. 

Is it important to you? What does it mean to be independent? Do you want or need more of it? And if you don’t have it, but want it, what factors are preventing it? 

These are just a few of the many questions worth asking, and answering, for yourself… first. Remember: whatever it is that you seek, you must first be.  

2. Listen to their definition of independence. 

And whether they think it’s important or not.  Truth be told, the road to independence isn’t smooth, glamorous or filled with endless excitement. There are more tears than triumphs, lessons that feel like losses, and weariness that precedes every win. 

At times independence can feel in-darn-possible. Coincidentally, some kids can perceive this early on and have no interest in traveling that road. Be prepared to come to grips with this reality—especially if they’ve experienced a lifestyle where independence isn’t necessary or expected.

3. Let them cry it out. 

And then ask what they’re ready to do about it. In the words of motivational speaker, Eric Thomas: “Don’t cry to give up! Cry to keep going!” If your child learns that tears equal being saved by someone else, they may never be enlightened to the fact that empowerment comes from being able to save yourself. 

So, they need to cry? Ok. Now, what are they ready to do about it? Not be your friend anymore? Ok. Let’s see how long it lasts and how far they get… and then revisit the conversation—just in case they’d like to explore a different approach.

4. Let them figure it out. 

No seriously, stop it. There’s a time for advice, a time for hugs, a time for side eyes and a time for unconditional love (READ: ALWAYS).  Do your kid a favor and let them learn how to figure it out. 

Are they struggling with tying their shoes? Be intentional about tying your shoes in front of them. Be a model, not their minion.

5. Give them responsibilities. 

Yes, you’re a parent, but they’re a miniature human being. The only limitations they see are the ones that you’ve created and enabled. Now, no, they didn’t ask to be here. 

They also didn’t ask for technology or electricity, and yet… your bill shows their appreciation.

6. Hold them accountable. 

And do the same for yourself. One of the most important parts of being independent is that you operate under your own authority. You’re able to live without being micromanaged, because you know what you know and are willing to learn what you don’t. 

Trust me… by holding your kid accountable, you’ll do the rest of us in this world a major favor.