10 Ways to Give Your Child More Independence Without Freaking Yourself Out
Raising independent, self-sufficient children is the goal of parenting, right? But actually letting your little birdies fly from the nest, away from your protection and care, can not only be difficult; it can feel downright unnatural. After all, we spend the first years of our kids' lives doing pretty much everything for them, all the time, and it's hard to know when continuing that level of parenting becomes more of a problem than an advantage for your kids.
Realistically, I know that my 7-year-old daughter is more than capable of walking to a friend's house a block away from ours by herself. Yet, I still worry every time she insists she doesn't need me to come along. I understand that she's often required to be independently motivated and autonomous at school, yet there's never been a time when I haven't helped her with her homework or packed her a snack and lunch. Hell, this is her third year at the same school, and I still worried if she'd make it from the bus to her classroom without getting lost on the first day.
Yet, I know that now's the time I need to start giving her a longer leash so that she learns how capable she truly is. Part of accomplishing this is to give her more to do around the house — independent people don't usually let their moms clean their rooms. But I also need to get over my own fears about what could happen if she's not fully under my supervision at all times and let her fly . . . at least to the neighbor's house. If you're struggling with giving your kid independence without giving yourself anxiety, here are 10 ways to start.