How To Raise Responsible And Independent Children

During infancy, children are completely dependent on their caregivers. Parents spend each moment trying to figure out what their child wants. Are they hungry? Do they need a nap? Is it time to change their diaper? The list goes on and on. As this phase ends and children transition to the toddler years, they begin to assert their independence by wielding the ever powerful ‘NO’ and will often meet your attempts to help them with a proud ‘I do it.’

Adjusting to your child’s desire for independence can be hard. However, it is necessary in order for them to grow and mature. After all, the last thing you want is to have your child turn into an adult who is still totally dependent on you to meet their needs. Teaching your child how to be independent is a valuable life skill that they will benefit from throughout their lives.

Here are some practical things you can do in order to raise responsible and independent children.

How To Raise Responsible And Independent Children #parenting #lifeskills #independentchildren

Show children you are confident in their ability to do things independently. If you know your child can complete a task on their own, allow them to do it.  Even if you believe they can’t do something, don’t be afraid to at least have them attempt to do it. When you do everything for your child, you send the message that you believe they are incapable of doing things independently. This can wreak havoc on their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Model independence for children. Children are great at mimicking what they see. Let them see you doing things on your own, making your own decisions, and expressing your opinions with confidence. They will pick up on what being independent ‘looks’ like by watching how you carry yourself. On the flip side, if your child sees you interacting with others in a co-dependent manner, don’t be surprised if they start displaying your co-dependent tendencies. They might start believing they need other people to do things for them and not trust that they are capable of doing things independently.

Teach children age-appropriate responsibilities. Giving children responsibilities helps them learn how to do things by themselves.  It also helps them become more confident about what they are capable of doing.  Some examples of responsibilities you can give children includes them maintaining their personal hygiene, taking out the trash, doing their laundry, cleaning their rooms, etc. It’s important that you keep your child’s age and capabilities in mind as you teach them new skills. You want them to have the best chance of experiencing success so as to build their confidence.

Encourage children to step out of their comfort zone. Learning new skills can be scary for children, especially if they are used to others doing everything for them. They might avoid learning how to do something on their own because they are afraid they will make a mistake and embarrass themselves. You can encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone by praising them for any effort they make towards learning a new skill, even if they don’t master it the first time around.

Teach children to take responsibility for their actions. Being able to take responsibility for your actions is an important part of being independent and responsible. Help your child to understand that making mistakes is a part of life and nothing to be ashamed of. It’s crucial that children understand that no one is perfect and it is alright to fail. Failure gives them an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and find alternate ways to master a new skill or task.

Gradually allow children to become more independent. Although many children crave independence, if you cut the strings too soon it can be scary and overwhelming for them. It’s important that you don’t give your child more responsibility than they are ready to take on. Things could backfire and your child might resist attempts to make them more independent by becoming increasingly defiant and oppositional. Give them a chance to practice and get comfortable with completing a task on their own.

Want more tips and ideas for how to raise responsible and independent children? Stay tuned for Kiddie Matters E-Book, Life Skills:Preparing Children For Success.

In the meantime, how do you ensure that you are raising responsible and independent children?

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  1. I find that having a big family contributes to having kids who do more independently. I just don’t have time to do it all! Great tips, as always.

  2. Yes, agree with Leslie. Having older kids, definitely helps the younger ones with independence. I love all of these tips, the most important one to me is allowing them to be independent. If you are helicopter parent it doesn’t give them the confidence they need to be comfortable in doing things for themselves.

  3. Great tips and very well written article. I especially agree with the last point. I think the same. Thanks for sharing this. 🙂

  4. Great post! Having an only child I noticed I did too much for him because it was usually easier. Luckily I changed my behavior before I created a disadvantage for him, but I am such a ‘doer’, sometimes it’s still hard for me to make/allow/encourage him to do things for himself. Honestly, if he shows any lazy tendencies I always think ‘great job Kellie! Way to screw your kid up’!! Thank goodness I don’t see it too often, but when I do I know why! Lol!!

  5. Being a parent is a tough (and rewarding) job. One must let their kids make independent choices and even allow them to make certain mistakes without jumping in to “fix” it. These are all such good tips. Keep sharing!

  6. Very true! I encourage my girls to do and think for themselves and to take responsibility for their actions. Great post! 🙂

  7. Great tips! I agree with all of them especially the modeling. Modeling is very important because children usually do what they see.

  8. All wonderful tips. The one I’d like to work on is “gradually allow children to become more independent.” My oldest is 7 so it’s this tip definitely resonates with me.

  9. I always try to remember not to do things for my kids that they can do themselves. It’s easy to forget in a rush, but I absolutely agree with your point about the message you communicate when you don’t allow them to take care of the things they can take care of.

    The last point you made was a good one for me to hear. I think I can overdo it on the side of pushing/encouraging them to go outside their comfort zones and try things they may not actually be ready to try.

    Great post!

  10. These are all fantastic tips for raising children! Giving kids the freedom to do things independently, (even if they might not be able to) and make mistakes to learn from, is such great advice. I don’t have any children yet, but my mom was sort of a “helicopter parent” and I think I turned out alright 😉 so I want to find the equal balance, which I know will be a challenge. But I’ll be taking all of these into consideration whenever that day comes. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this post!

  11. Great tips! I agree with all of them especially the modeling. Modeling is very important because children usually do what they see.

  12. I am so glad I found this site. I am involved in a mentoring program for girls age 3-17. This is phenomenal. I will definitely incorporate this awesome information and share with the other Mentees. Thank you so much. God bless you Mrs. Yanique Chambers. Please don’t stop.

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