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As a parent, one of the hardest decisions to make is how to handle the question of independence and nurturing. We all want our kids to be able to responsible young people who don’t need to rely on us for every single thing, but we want them to know they can look to us for support and also to be safe in an increasingly connected and digital world. Here, we’re going to look at how you can encourage that independence, but without having to leave them to the metaphorical wolves.
An important part of parenting is to teach your children independence. It can be a difficult thing for parents to do, but it is important. The teenage years can be difficult for many reasons. Teaching our children how to navigate the world is part of the learning process.
Establish a routine
A routine may not seem like it offers an exciting deal of freedom, but it can be one of the first ways you show your child the influence they can exert over their own life. This is because you’re not going to be deciding absolutely everything for them. Creating a routine with them means setting certain absolutes (such as what time they should wake up, leave for school, and go to bed). However, other aspects like when they do homework, how they fit in hobbies and sports groups, and chores can be left to them. If everything has a set time, it also makes it harder for them to negotiate when they don’t feel like doing one thing or another.
Help them find their priorities and goals
If you’re giving them more independence over how they spend their time, whether or not they have a routine, then it’s important that they don’t just waste all of that time on distractions. To that end, it’s a good idea to sit with them and discuss their goals with a degree of seriousness. Creating a passion for learning and achieving is better than anything else, but it’s not always easy. Creating a contract for how much time they spend on chores and homework compared to distractions, with rewards for completing it, can encourage them to be more self-aware of how they use their time.
Keep an eye on them
Even if you’re letting them be independent, it doesn’t mean you have to let them entirely out of your site. There are three times a parent should be willing to keep an eye on their kids, even if they’re not entirely happy with the lack of total privacy. This is when they first start going out without parental supervision, when they use the internet, and when they first drive. A phone tracking device can help you keep an eye on them in all three respects, so you can go here and buy one if you believe it could be useful. With time comes the privacy they desire, but don’t make the mistake of offering them complete privacy from the get-go as a misplaced show of respect when they are still potentially very vulnerable to risks associated with the freedoms that you’re giving them.
With independence comes responsibility
When do you take the training wheels off and allow the privacy that they would prefer and to truly trust them to be independent? When they can show that they have all the knowledge and intent to be responsible. You can’t stop them from making mistakes, but you can at least build a sense of responsibility by slowly giving them more than they are in charge of. Getting them involved in chores, if they aren’t already, is a good start.
Being informed is key
As said, they need to show both the knowledge and the intent. At some point, you have to agree that you won’t be able to track their every movement and fix their every mistake. You can make sure that they’re aware of the dangers associated with their new freedoms, however. These online safety websites are a good example of the materials you can expose them to and go through with them so that they better understand what they’re getting into when they get more independent. Letting them go also means that sometimes you shouldn’t be there to clean up their messes. It’s not a lesson that’s easily taught or easily learned, but that self-reliability is crucial.
You don’t have to make a final decision on what level of independence you allow your child, whether it’s going out alone to certain areas or using the internet without supervision. If you feel like you have let go of the leash too early, you can still reset the rules. It’s important to take the time to get it right when they’re still young. As they get older, your control over their independence will naturally slip away.