How to raise an independent child
It's all about age
In an effort to instill independence in a child, adults often forget that each age has its own measure of responsibility. What you can demand from a 12-year-old teenager is simply not within the power of a 7-year-old baby. Therefore, parents need to learn how to build a system of requirements, starting from the capabilities of their child in a specific period of time. The same goes for the psychological development of children.
So what is true independence? Psychologists define it something like this: independence is a complex personality trait that includes adequate self-esteem, initiative, receptivity to criticism and responsibility "for the deed." In other words, in order to raise a child as a truly independent person, you need to educate in him all these qualities at the same time. This rule is the same for everyone - for kids, and for teens, and for adults. But you have to act in completely different ways.
From 1 to 6 years
By the age of one and a half years, the child begins to become aware of itself as a separate person from mom and dad. At this age, the baby can already express their desires, move around quickly and, for example, eat on their own. Yes, while he still has difficulty bringing a spoonful of soup to his mouth, but, most importantly, he is already trying to do it himself. Of course, it’s much easier and faster to feed him, to dress, put on shoes and take him out for a walk. But, acting in a similar way, we, firstly, suppress the baby’s initiative, secondly, demonstrate to him that everything is better and faster for mom, and, finally, deprive him of the opportunity to feel responsible for himself. We act in the interests of the child, but actually render him a disservice.
- Instead of every second to control the baby, try to create for him the most safe "environment".
- Be patient. Try not to get annoyed if the baby doesn’t succeed either the first, the second, or even the third time. Do not insist on doing it for him - it’s better to help find the mistake, cheer up and try not to customize.
- Do not intervene unnecessarily. When the child is older, do not control his behavior in the playground. Let him build relations with other children, quarrel and reconcile himself. Your intervention is necessary only when there is a real threat to the health or life of the baby.
- Do not be ironic. Preschoolers are very sensitive to ridicule themselves. Respect this and try to be extremely correct.
- From 4−5 years the baby should already have the simplest responsibilities: in addition to cleaning the toys, for example, it can be "washing hands without reminders." Demand as much as possible, but make sure that the child fulfills the duties assigned to him.
Parenting from 6 to 10 years
From 6 to 10 years
At the age of 6–7 years, children can fully keep their word, clearly formulate requests and, most importantly, be responsible for their actions. Nevertheless, it is still not worthwhile to demand too much from the child, and he already has a very difficult time. The first school year goes on for the children to adapt to a new life: one manages to adapt to school rules in a couple of months, and the other takes much more time.
In general, there is no need to rush children: sooner or later even the most “lazy” child will put up with the fact that now he needs to do homework every day, collect his briefcase and not chat in class. The main task of parents during this period is to make it clear to the child that the school is his (and not mom and dad's) area of responsibility. And this is one of the most important stages in the formation of an independent personality.
- Help baby build a relatively flexible schedule that includes daily activities and pleasures. The first-grader is not yet able to take into account all the nuances, and you can very well help and secure him.
- Do not control the process of preparing lessons, do not inspect notebooks daily. In order to keep a finger on the pulse, just look there a couple of times a week. Do not remind the child to collect the briefcase for tomorrow, more than once a day, and do not check if he has done so. School is his business, and the sooner he understands this, the less problems you will have later.
- Never refuse help. After all, independence is also the ability to recognize one’s own wrongness or imperfection. If a student is asking you a question or asking for help in solving a problem, do not dismiss him. Help, but in no case do the lessons for him - so you only reduce the self-esteem of the young student.
- Do not threaten or force. Does not want to do homework - no need. But he will have to reckon with the fact that such behavior will lead to the fact that he will not be able to get to his friend’s birthday, will not go for a walk with you
- Begin to gradually separate from the child. You have every right to have fun without him (theater, cinema, guests), and he - without you. The junior high school student is already able to occupy himself independently - promote this quality and do not try to take part in all his affairs.
How to grow an independent teenager
11 to 15 years old
On the one hand, children are already much more independent, but the transitional age often changes them beyond recognition. A calm and benevolent child literally turns in his eyes into an uncontrollable, selfish and dissatisfied creature. In this period, in no case should you panic: everything that happens is normal and natural. That is why the "repression" at this time is absolutely pointless: no ban will help cope with the raging hormones. Now full acceptance and vigilant, but at the same time very correct control is required of you. And, of course, patience: a difficult time will pass, and your sweet, kind and absolutely adequate child will definitely return to you.
- Let the teenager understand that you understand and accept his condition, but at the same time you can’t free him from everything in the world. Yes, you are ready to be as loyal to his mood as possible, but he must continue to fulfill his duties.
- Adjust the requirements system. The child has grown up and is not required to go to bed at nine in the evening. If all the lessons are done, you can extend the walk until 20.00 against the previous 19.00
- If the phrase "cleaning the apartment" causes a teenager's horror and indignation, free him from this labor duty in exchange for “watering flowers”, “buying food” or, say, “walking with a dog”. A minimal, but, most importantly, unexpected compromise can disarm even the most belligerent teenager.
- In this age some children begin to take their studies less seriously, grabbing triples, or even deuces. All this, of course, is very unpleasant, but if you still want to raise an independent child, then you will have to grit your teeth and endure a difficult period. This is still not your responsibility. Do not lay straw - do not write compositions for your son and do not draw contour maps. Sooner or later, the teenager will understand that he will not be able to get rid of school requirements, and he will take up the mind. And at this time, your help will definitely be needed.
- Try not to use expressions: “I warned you,” “it’s my fault” and “I had to listen to my mother.” Accept the defeat of a child with Olympic calmness and help him correct mistakes. Unfortunately, it is impossible to become independent without such experience, which means that your child has every right to it.
- Children are very susceptible to criticism: the words you say in your hearts can stay with them for the rest of your life. Be extremely careful and correct, do not let emotions completely absorb your mind. Yes, it is possible to criticize a child, and sometimes it is simply necessary, but this must be done with the greatest respect. Do not humiliate, do not scoff, do not make monstrous predictions regarding the future of your negligent child. And in no case do not emphasize during conflicts that the heir is completely up to you: yes, this is true, but teenagers take this argument very painfully and feel completely helpless.
If your child is 16 to 18 years old
From 16 to 18 years
Yes, hormones are still raging, but the child is gradually recovering. But he no longer perceives his parents as insidious and dangerous enemies. He has already more or less decided on plans for the future, but so far he cannot force himself to concentrate fully on his goal. Nevertheless, at this age, a teenager can already adequately evaluate the results of his own work and draw the appropriate conclusions. In general, the child has grown, which means that your requirements for him should also grow.
- Adulthood automatically imposes restrictions on parents. Yes, financially it still depends on you, but this does not give you the right to dictate to him how and what to do. The system of strict requirements, alas, is in the past, but soft tips are quite welcome. They can be repeated many times, but demanding total obedience from the child is already pointless.
- If something doesn’t work out, no need to look for excuses. Gently but honestly explain to him the reasons for the defeats, without blaming the failure of “bad people” or “unsuccessful circumstances”. Now is the time to clearly explain to the child that he is responsible for everything in his life.
- At this age, adolescents become more competitive, and therefore failure is perceived by them especially painfully. Stay close: help (together, but not instead) to correct what happened, encourage and in no case make a tragedy out of failure.
- Be as flexible as possible. Yes, it can happen that a child returns later than promised, goes to preparatory courses without homework or skips a lesson. Calmly discuss the situation: the child has grown, and, alas, the punishments will no longer have the desired effect.
- Do not interfere with a teenager of the opposite sex: this is his personal territory, and no matter how scary you are, keep quiet and accept the choice of the child. Do not rush into the room without knocking, do not eavesdrop on telephone conversations and do not inform that the right time is now for personal life. Only if you respect the teenager’s personal life, will you be able to convey to him a simple thought: his feelings should in no way develop to the detriment of his duties, studies and plans for the future.
And finally, a rule common to all ages - it is impossible to raise an independent child without trust. Believe in your children, do not torment them with suspicions and reproaches. Hyperopeca, anxiety and numerous parental fears are the main enemies of his future independence.
Yes, perhaps with the help of constant monitoring you can save him from a lot of mistakes, but then he will have to struggle with infantilism all his life. Just believe that a child can do very, very much, and even with your correct help, he will completely turn mountains. And then by the age of 18 you will get an adult, intelligent and truly independent person who you can really rely on.