There’s no doubt that the world can be a scary place, especially when you’re raising children. So it’s only natural that, as a parent, your first instinct is to protect your young one from any possible misstep. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing! Even with the best intentions, excessive protection and mollycoddling can have an adverse effect on your child, who may never learn to be a self-sufficient, independent adult. So, even in their early childhood, begin letting go in little ways. You could let them help with the cooking, pick their own clothes and pack their own school bags — start small, and keep going as they get older. Here’s how:
Teach them Life Skills
There are a number of essential skills that your children won’t be taught at school. Formal education has its limits, and it probably won’t teach your child how to manage a home, meet financial goals, and deal with unforeseen circumstances. So teach your young one how to cook basic meals, clean their room and, if they’re old enough, pay bills online. Dealing with money can be especially overwhelming for any young adult, and it’s important that your child is aware of basic banking procedures and tax-paying processes. And, most importantly, give them the skills to handle things when life doesn’t go their way — what to do during an accident, a natural disaster, or even a power cut. They’ll thank you later!
Allow your Child to Make Mistakes
It can be very tempting to stop your child from stumbling — be it when you know they’ve forgotten their homework or when they’re mixing with the wrong company. Nevertheless, no matter how hard it is, sometimes the best thing to do is stop yourself from going into overprotection mode. Of course, if you know your child is putting themselves in harm’s way, stepping in is only natural. But if it’s a situation that could teach them a valuable lesson, then just let it unfold. Whether it’s being regular with their school work, or being careful about who they spend time with, they’re bound to gain something positive from the situation. After all, experience is the best teacher!
Give them Enough Privacy
This can’t be stressed enough — children need their space too. If possible, allow them to have their own room where they can study, play and hang out with friends. If your child has their own phone, resist the urge to snoop on their conversations or track their location — especially since this is now so easy thanks to advanced apps and technology. Instead, encourage your child to use technology in a healthy way, and do the same. If they’re going out late at night, firmly yet politely ask them to share their location with you at a certain time. The trick is to be there for them — not suffocate them.
Encourage a Reading Habit
Encouraging your young one to read whatever they like is the best gift any child could receive. Instead of Playstations and iPads, buy them different kinds of books from a young age. The exposure to a variety of literature will teach them things no school can. As they grow up, this habit will allow them to make informed decisions about what they want to study further, what kinds of fields are open to them and so on. But, most importantly, it will allow your child to form well-thought-out, independent opinions on topics like religion, politics, relationships and the like — which is what it means to be truly independent!
So, if you’re struggling with inculcating a sense of independence and responsibility in your child and struggling to let go, make a beginning with these simple tips! Be it teaching them the basics of running a household, or allowing them to have their own room, it all boils down to one thing — refrain from imposing your beliefs, opinions and ideologies on your child. Find the right balance — understand that they need your guidance but, at the end of it all, your young one is their own person, just like you are!