Fostering Independence; Jennifer Thorell, High School Principal

15 Jan 2020 1:49 PM | Anonymous

It’s not likely you sit around thinking about how it is you learned all you did about how to be a successful adult but if you did, you may have similar thoughts like I recently had. We were heading out to dinner and had ordered a pizza for our 14 year-old son which hadn’t arrived when we needed to leave. We were explaining what he needed to do and how much cash he should ask for in change when the doorbell rang. My instinct was to answer the door and pay for the pizza but my husband gave him the $20, told him to answer the door and watched how he did. I thought...well, that was easy and he is all set for the next time!

Of course, there are hundreds of examples that I can think of that we have fostered independence in our children but there are also many examples that I can think about when it was just easier for us to do it, as busy parents often do. It really isn’t about paying for pizza delivery but each instance a child has to be independent, even at an early age, begins to develop self-confidence in their own abilities. This confidence builds self-reliance, which builds more confidence to be independent.

Children crave independence, even at an early age….I can’t tell you how many times I heard my kids say “I do it” when they were little. But because we are busy, sometimes we just want it done without having to teach or explain, or we want it done the way we want it done. I would call these missed opportunities. Embrace each chance you have to let them try themselves. Have them pick a meal each week to make (it might be cereal for dinner but you didn’t make it). Pay them an allowance but have them have to pay their cell phone bill to you out of it each month. Have them order a meal in a restaurant. Going to the movies? Have them research the theater and time of the movie they want to see. And when they ask to do it themselves, seriously consider it. Building confidence is key to independence!



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