Dr. Fran’s Top 10 Tips For Giving Your Child More Independence

1.  Balance nurturing, setting limits, and holding boundaries.  Kids can only become independent if they have been given structure and internal guidelines as foundation.

2.  Encourage healthy expression of anger.  You will help your child develop excellent communication tools that include conflict resolution skills.  Your child needs to know he is acknowledged, validated, and accepted flaws and all!

3.  Nurture and praise your child’s incremental steps toward separation.  To be a good parent you must prepare and equip your child to deal with life and then let them fly on their own.

4.  Encourage your child’s unique and individual ideas, thoughts, and opinions.

5.  Built self-esteem by using words that support and motivate with empathic attunement, rather than criticize.

6.  Equip your child with coping skills to deal with disappointments.  We cannot protect or prevent life’s disappointments.  The best we can do is equip our children with coping skills to deal with inevitable letdowns.

7.  Reward your child’s demonstration of good judgment and good behavior with incremental amounts of increased independence and freedom.

8.  Do not allow yourself to be pressured by your child.  What her friends are allowed or what her brother was allowed has nothing to do with her individual level of readiness for independence.

9.  Have individual one-on-one special time with each child.  Begin when they are young and continue to implement this quality uninterrupted time with your son or daughter.  This is your opportunity to build upon the first year of attachment.  True independence can only come out of a healthy secure bond.

10.  Create a support system for yourselves, Moms and Dads.  It’s hard to let go of your child.  The psychological goal of toddlerhood is for the youngster to claim himself as a separate being from Mommy and Daddy.  The psychological goal of adolescence parallels that of toddlerhood.  The teen’s goal is to resolve the separation process.  This means your adolescent must emerge into adulthood with his own ideas and opinions about relationships, religion, morals, ethics, sex, character, and values.  There is life ahead for empty-nest parents.  Good luck, Moms and Dads!!

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