How to Raise Independent Kids in a Helicopter Parenting World

As much as it hurts, it’s our responsibility to help our children become independent beings so that they can eventually go off into the world and become integrated adults. The key to achieving this goal is creating healthy boundaries and drawing a line in the sand between ourselves and our children.

We all want our kids to go off into the world and become happy and successful people, but there can be subconscious messages from our own childhoods which we unwillingly project on them.

Perhaps our parents were hard on us and we felt as if we had to be perfect to win their approval. Or maybe, it was the opposite and they were too busy to be involved in our lives at all. The experiences are different for everyone.

Parenting doesn’t come with a manual (but wouldn’t that be nice!) so we usually find ourselves guided by our instincts and just hope that we don’t screw it up too badly.

Looking back at my own experience as a parent, I am now acutely aware that some of my baggage from childhood ended up in the mix. I really don’t think that any parent can prevent that reality because so many childhood messages become hard-wired into our brain’s circuitry.

Here are a few things that I have gleaned in my quest to raise independent children:

To Thine Own Self, Be True

As parents, it behooves us to take the time to look back at our own childhood and get in touch with the wounds that never healed. If we have the courage to take a good look back, chances are we will likely see how some of our unresolved issues could potentially be affecting the way we parent our children.

Don’t Just Love Your Kids, Like Them as Well

A key to raising independent children lies in self-esteem. If our little person feels respected and liked for who they are as a human being and not just as our child, they will have a better chance of individuating.

Don’t Just Believe It, Express It

We can believe that our kids are capable of making that solo trek into kindergarten all alone, but we have to TELL them that we believe it. We have to practice speaking to our little people in the future tense and say things like: “Wow, tomorrow you are going to walk into class all by yourself because you are amazing!”

Let Them Fall

Teaching our children to become independent human beings means that we have to let them learn to fall. They are going to make mistakes – that’s just the way it is. Let them learn from their mistakes now before they get older and the price tags get much higher.

Expect Their Best

A huge mistake so many of us make as parents is expecting things from our children that we want, rather than letting them figure out for themselves what they want. Our children are not clones of us. They are their own people who have a unique path to walk in life. If they are not excelling in an area that you succeeded in—Oh well, just get over it!

Accept Them for Who They Are

Every child is different. Comparing them to their siblings can easily rattle their sense of independence. Send out the message loud and clear to each one of your children that you totally SEE their uniqueness, and that you wouldn’t have things any other way.

Independence is being connected to others while still having a sense of freedom. We teach our children this by first helping them to develop their wings, and then by giving them the courage to soar off majestically into the world.

How do you raise your child to be strong and independent? Share your tips and experiences with us in the comments below!

Tags : conscious parenting   mindful parenting   self esteem   confidence   emotional health   

Bridgit Sussman
Thanks for the great read. Having grown up in a house where kids weren't really seen as individual entities, I really strive to raise independent kids who are critical thinkers and decision-makers. I have a lot of my own issues to deal with to be able to do that, but I hope I'm on the right track. Thanks again!