HOW DO WE CULTIVATE INDEPENDENCE IN OUR KIDS?
There’s such a fine line between encouraging our kids to be more independent and feeling like we’re “checked out parents”. We want them to evolve and grow into these resourceful, confident little leaders, and ultimately resourceful and confident adults – but we still need to serve as bumper rails, as they continue to develop through the process.
In today’s episode we’re talking about cultivating independence in our Luminaries while learning to let go of control and fear that a lot of us feel in that process. I think you’re going to find this particular episode hits home and gives you some simple ways to pull back a little bit and let them lead, even from a young age.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVER:
[01:43] It’s an Evolution
Whether you are a helicopter parent or you lean more towards the hands-off style, we all want our kids to be capable, independent kids that blossom into capable, independent adults. This one has been really tough for me. As much as I had dreams of bringing up these little free spirits who I’d let figure it out on their own, my instincts as a mother were to protect and nurture them, do it for them, help them figure it out when they don’t know how to figure it out on their own yet. But, with having each of our kids, we’ve evolved along with them.
We did the helicopter parent dance with our oldest, and now with our third, we don’t even use a monitor anymore. It’s an evolution and trust that you establish both for yourself as a parent, but also with your children.
[3:13] The Space In Between
Letting go of that control didn’t come naturally to me. I want to help them, it’s in my DNA to want to fix it for them, to make it for them, to do it for them. It feels good to me to give them those things. But, I think the answer lies somewhere in between the “hands-off parenting” and “do it for them parenting”, in a space that cultivates their independence and their growth. Although my husband and I weren’t great at it at first, I see benefits of this in real time in my kids.
[5:24] You Can Start at Any Age
You can start to develop your child’s independence at any age. You can do it with your two-year-old (like us) or you can do this with your college student (and everywhere in between!) You simply adjust it to fit them. For us, it’s been this process of getting off the autopilot that does the thing for my kids just to complete the task, instead of encouraging them to take the lead (even if it does take forever). Like, we’re rushing out the door to get to church and I’m fighting myself putting shoes on my two-year-old because it saves me time, it’s quicker, it’s more efficient, and it’s just what I do. But now, I’m trying to be really conscious of getting off that auto process and allowing them to have the space to figure things out within reason and safety.
Allowing them to test it out and take pride in whatever it is they’re doing builds their self-esteem and confidence in them. Giving our kids a chance to figure things out despite the fact that it may take longer gives them a sense of accomplishment.
[07:02] Involve Them in The Process
Part of the growth and independence is the doing, but part of it is also in the discussion of how to do it. When our kids want something, we talk to them about it: what’s needed to make that happen, how much money do you have to save to do that, what are some things you could do to get to that place, etc.
We want to involve them in the adult conversations so that they can start to develop and understand what a process looks like. They lead both the discussion and the process with whatever parts are possible and safe for them to do.
RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE:
- How to Raise an Adult by Julie Lythcott-Haims
- Connect with me on Instagram and share any other ideas of things to help develop and cultivate independence in your kids!