happy kids running in a field

Naturally, children want more independence as they get older. Edging towards the end of Primary School….. Nearly at Secondary school. Pre-teens. All the time developing independence.

If it has not happened yet – it will happen soon. Your son or daughter is going to want to go out on their own and be independent and, as their parent, you are going to have to let them. This can be a scary time for parents.

We will want to set rules so your child knows what they can and cannot do. We will want to tell them that they must not do x, y or z whilst they are out without us.

It’s natural to want to keep your child safe. So, how can parents stop being over-protective, panicky and let children get on with it so they can learn the independence that they need to have to grow?

Developing Independence In Children

1. Remind ourselves that it is not an easy time for either us or our children. New rules surrounding freedom are going to have to be put in place. Parents may get some of these rules wrong before we find out what works best. And the rules will keep adapting and changing as they get older, so be flexible.

2. Make rules around independence with your child. Be clear about what time they should be back, where they can go and who with. Decide how you will both communicate whilst they are out doing their own thing.

3. Be available for children when they want to talk. Independence can bring new problems or worries so make sure you listen to them and help without judgment when needed.

4. Realise that all children have to go through this stage of life and that with it comes new experiences for your child and the growth of who they need to become. Whilst it may seem tempting to help or accompany them, they need to experience some things without their parents.

5. Finally, we need to make children aware of how they can be safe and instill in them our values and beliefs so that they know what is expected of them and are able to take responsibility for themselves.

Discuss all of the above with your child so, as they increase their independence, they feel ready for different situations.  Do you agree with these rules? I’d love to hear more about what else have you done or would do to help your child develop independence.