Parenting is no easy feat. It's extremely challenging to raise a child into a fully-functioning human being. It's hard to strike a balance between being there for them and caring for them while also encouraging them to be independent and self-sufficient.
There are different types of maturity: emotional, physical, moral, intellectual, and social. In order to help your kids develop their skills in each of these areas, it's important to offer leeway for them to learn. Here are 10 things you shouldn't do (and 10 you should) to help your child grow into an independent person.
Don't: Do Everything For Your Child
By doing everything for your child, they never develop the ability to do things for themselves and instead remain reliant on you for assistance in all of their basic tasks.
Do: Be Patient In Teaching Them And Letting Them Figure It Out
It may be frustrating to watch your kids struggle to tie their own shoes or use a spoon when you know you could complete the task much faster, but by teaching them the basics and letting them figure it out on their own, you teach them to be self-reliant.
Don't: Always Speak On Behalf Of Your Child
If you always speak on behalf of your child, you may stunt their ability to communicate in social situations. Learning how to effectively listen and respond in conversations is a vital skill to learn at a young age in order to foster confident communication skills.
Do: Give Them The Opportunity To Speak For Themselves
When someone asks a question about your child or tries to start a discussion with them, encourage your child to voice their response. This helps improve their communication skills and social confidence while helping to avoid shyness.
Don't: Choose Everything For Your Child
While you may want to help steer your children in a certain direction or choose activities you think might enrich them, always choosing what they wear, do, and play can hinder their ability to self-express and advocate for themselves.
Do: Give Them The Opportunity To Choose For Themselves
Allow your children to form their own opinions and choose their clothes, hobbies, toys, and activities. This teaches them that their opinions and desires matter and helps them to develop a strong sense of self.
Don't: Accompany Your Child Everywhere They Go
The world can be a scary place, and it can be hard to let your child do things on their own. Of course you want to walk them places so you can make sure that they arrive safely, but this can infringe on their sense of independence.
Do: Give Them Freedom To Go Certain Places Alone
As your children get older, allow them to do certain activities on their own, such as walking to school. When children reach a more conscious age, they are already aware of safety rules as they apply to the streets and life in general. Additionally, many kids will group with friends on these "alone" journeys, giving them a social opportunity.
Don't: Coddle Upset Children
Children are very emotional by nature, but if you indulge every negative emotion your child feels or react every time they throw a tantrum by trying to soothe them, they will grow accustomed to getting what they want when displaying these behaviors.
Do: Teach Them How To Control Their Emotions
When your child displays an excessive outburst of negative emotion, refuse to talk to them until they are willing to speak about it in a managed way. By enforcing that emotions should be controlled and discussed in a calm manner, you teach them to self-regulate their feelings and effectively communicate them.
Don't: Tell Your Child What They Need To Do All The Time
There are a number of things that children need to do on a daily basis, such as complete their homework, brush their teeth, and organize their school bags. When you constantly tell your children what they need to do everyday, they become reliant on you to enforce their daily tasks.
Do: Allow Your Kids To Develop Self-Discipline
Rather than telling them what to do and when they should do it, instead help them get into the routine of doing their daily tasks. Rather than controlling what they do, ask them about their homework or gently remind them they have to organize their school bag for the next day.
Don't: Yell At Your Child About The Effect Of Their Actions
Children can be reckless and end up damaging or breaking things. However, by just addressing the result of their actions, they only learn that the broken object is the problem.
Do: Explain Cause And Effect
Focus on what actions led to the negative consequences when scolding children so that they can easily identify where they went wrong. Children need to be able to identify their own mistakes and draw their own conclusions on what they did wrong.
Don't: Tell Your Children How They Are Supposed To Act In All Situations
As a parent, you want to make sure that your child develops a sense of right and wrong and acts accordingly. However, telling them exactly how they should act in all situations leads them to only have your opinion when it comes to their own behavior, which means they may not know how to act in situations you have not prepared them for.
Do: Allow Your Children To Form Their Own Opinions
Help your children understand their feelings when approaching different situations so that they are able to critically assess what's going on and decide their own actions going forward. This helps them develop an individual sense of morality that can help guide their judgment and actions even when you're not around and avoid succumbing to negative peer pressure.
Don't: Treat Your Kid Like They're Your Baby All The Time
We know that in your eyes, your child will always be your baby, no matter how old they get, but treating them that way stunts their ability to be self-sufficient. Instead, they become reliant on your help to do basic tasks.
Do: Give Your Child Responsibilities
From even age 2-3, start giving your child responsibilities such as cleaning up their toys. Later you can add other chores, such as helping care for pets or doing laundry. This helps children develop their sense of diligence and individual responsibility, and it prepares them to be independent in the future.
Don't: Try To Protect Children From Every Negative Outcome
Of course, you want to protect your child from anything that may harm them, but sometimes that protection can come across as patronizing. While warning them and explaining things that can be dangerous to their life, over-protecting and preventing them from getting hurt can actually stunt development.
Do: Allow Your Children To Make Mistakes
Making mistakes, failing, and facing negative outcomes are all part of life. It's important to give your children the freedom to make mistakes so that they develop their sense of resilience and gain personal experience. It's a hard part of life, and it's hard to watch them go through it, but it helps them become stronger people in the future.