Teach Your Kids to Stand on Their Own & Value Their Independence

The joys of life, from a child's perspective
Let her experience all that life has to offer! This girl is having fun at the beach. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

In today’s world where parents are criticized for letting their kids ride their bikes on their own or play at the park with their friends, many parents have become over protective of their kids, mollycoddling them far more than is necessary. Of course, today it does seem as if there are more threats to children than their once were, which means that it makes sense to hold them a little tighter, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let them grow. Believe it or not, you can keep our kids safe and let them stand on their own two feet; it’s just a case of getting the balance right.

As parents, naturally you want your kids to grow up into happy, healthy adults that are able to successfully stand on their own two feet and be independent. But the issue is that if you are too overprotective of our kids, it can impact them negatively as they grow, leading to them being too reliant on the parent, and thus struggling to be independent as adults. However, if you teach your kids how to stand on their own two feet and what the value of independence is from a young age, they have a much better chance of growing into successful adults. Here’s how to do that:

Encourage your little ones to cook

This girl is having fun in the kitchen
Get your kids cooking to help them be more independent. By Flickr, CC BY 2.0.

Research shows that on average 30% of adults can’t cook – they can make toast, cereal, or a sandwich but they cannot cook proper meals. This means that just under a third of the population relies on ready meals, takeaways, and junk food to get by – that’s a scary statistic, isn’t it? If you can’t cook, it’s impossible to be totally independent because you have to rely on someone else to feed you. The issue with living off ready made food and takeaways is that not only is it incredibly unhealthy, but it also tends to be rather pricey.

It’s clear that learning to cook is a vital life skill, especially if you want to ensure that your children are capable of standing on their own two feet. So it’s a good idea to start teaching your kids to cook from a young age. It doesn’t matter whether it’s simply baking cupcakes or cookies or making soup, just as long as your little ones are learning to find their way around the kitchen.

As your kids get older, it could be worth asking them to cook once or twice a week, to help them to master different meals. Obviously, you can supervise them if you feel that you want to, but it’s best to let them just get on with it so that they are learning to do things for themselves.

Teach your kids to budget

In the US alone, on average 80% of people are living with debt. That means that almost the entire population is in some form of debt, whether that’s credit card debt or debt from an unpaid gas bill. Sometimes getting into debt is unavoidable but in most instances, it’s the choices that you make that lead to debt. As a parent, the last thing that you want is your kids getting into debt; you want to teach them how to live within their means, to prevent them suffering from money problems in adulthood. The question is, how can you do that?

One of the best ways to ensure that your kids know how to effectively live within their means is to teach them to budget from an early age. This can be as simple as giving them an allowance each month of a set amount and explaining to them that it needs to last the whole month for treats and sweets. If they spend it all at once and you refuse to give them any more money, they will soon learn how to budget.

Another way that you can teach your kids to budget as they get older is to introduce them to apps that help with budgeting. As well as websites that offer coupons and more, making cutting costs that little bit easier. Often, the reason that people get into debt is because they don’t know how to budget properly and make their money go further.  So if you teach your kids to budget from a young age, they should be set for life.

Allow them to make their own choices

Social studies have shown that the kids that tend to struggle as adults are the children who come from super strict families. This is because they’ve never had any freedom to make their own choices before and don’t know how to deal with it. So it can be a good idea to start letting kids make their own decisions from a young age, to ensure that they have experienced freedom before adulthood comes along.

Obviously, allowing your kids to make their own choices, such as asking them to choose what they would like for dinner or where you spend the weekend, gives them the chance to feel the freedom that comes with adulthood. As they get older, you can give them more choices to make, allowing them more chances to weigh up the options and make the right choice for them. It’s little things like this that help to prepare kids for adult life.

Give your children responsibilities

Chores teach responsibility. Make them age-appropriate.
Give your child age-appropriate chores to teach them how to be more responsible. Photo via Flickr.

Want your children to succeed as adults? Then what you need to do is give them responsibilities from a young age. These don’t have to be anything too serious, just small chores that you want them to complete and keep on top of. For example, for kids of two to four years old, age appropriate chores include making their bed, putting dirty clothes in the laundry basket, and putting toys away after playing with them.

Whereas, for kids of six to nine years old, age-appropriate responsibilities include helping to pack their school lunch, setting the table for dinner, watering the plants and raking leaves, feeding pets, and washing the car. Those are some examples of age-appropriate chores that teach kids how to be more responsible.

The fact is that if you want your kids to grow into well-rounded adults, it’s important to teach them how to be responsible from an early age. By giving your kids chores from a young age, you can teach them how important it is to keep on top of things and manage their time effectively. For adult life, effective time management is a crucial tool, which is why it’s so important to ensure that your little ones learn this at a young age.

Praise your kids

If you want your children to be able to successfully stand on their own two feet and value their independence, what you need to do is praise them. This is important as kids who are never praised by their parents have a tendency to lack self-esteem as adults, which can impact their ability to be happy, well-rounded, and independent adults.

As a parent, it’s important that you use positive reinforcement to praise your kids when they’ve done something well, such as completing their chores on time without being nagged to do them. Believe it or not, telling your child that you are proud of them for their hard work can have a huge impact on them, and can help their confidence to grow. Whenever your child does something well, make sure to say how proud you are or how pleased you are with them, and their confidence will soar.

Send your kids out into the world

The joys of life, from a child's perspective
Let her experience all that life has to offer! This girl is having fun at the beach. Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.

A lot of parents choose to hold onto their kids extra tight because of the dangers of the world that we live in, but this isn’t doing anything to help the child. It might be daunting to send your children out into the world, but as a parent, it’s part of your job to help them grow. So don’t be afraid to let your children go on school trips to different countries or cities, don’t stop them from traveling with their friend and their parents, don’t hold them back from going to camp, because you need to let them see the world.

The fact is that if you want your children to learn how to stand on their own two feet, you need to give them the chance to do so. By letting them go and do things without you by their side, you can give your little ones the chance to be independent. Obviously, there will be teachers or a friend’s family there, but it still gives them the chance to grow and become more independent, which is important. One of the reasons a lot of elementary schools do residential trips for kids is to help them to learn to be more independent, so clearly it’s important to let your kids explore the world.

The fact is that as a parent, it’s your job to teach your kids how to stand on their own two feet and also to value their independence. It’s not always something that’s easy to do, but by taking the right steps, it is possible to help your kids to grow into happy, healthy, and successful adults who are capable of standing on their own two feet.


  1. This is great, Christy. And as someone who’s worked in education for a long time, kiddos who haven’t stood on their two feet have a tough time adjusting to life in college, too. I’ve seen it firsthand: the ones who were never, ever allowed to touch a drop of alcohol, for example, seem to go crazy when they get to college. My parents let me have wine as a teenager from time to time – and on special occasions. Just a little bit. But, by the time I got to college, it wasn’t this “forbidden” thing. Same with other responsibilities: I did a lot of those things as a kid and transitioning to adulthood wasn’t that bad. 🙂 Great advice here!

    • That’s interesting about the alcohol thing and how it wasn’t this “I must try it” thing then once you were of legal age. Thanks for sharing what worked with your family, Cynthia! Cheers 😉 Always great to see you xx

  2. This is an excellent perspective and I couldn’t agree with you more. I just wrote a post about sending my son to sleepaway camp even though many don’t understand how I ship him off. Also talk to our kids very realistically about money and the need to work to support your needs- and, ok, wants too. The praise thing is tricky bc you want them to know pride without expecting praise for everything they do- that can be disappointing over the long term! Going to address that topic soon!

    • Great feedback here on what works for you and doesn’t so much.. I like what you say about not praising too much – it’s a fine line, right?! On that note, I wish bosses praised employees more (often from what I gather it’s sorely lacking in many workplaces today). I appreciate the reads/comments/discussions 🙂

      • The bit about praising children caught my attention, too, because of the concern for too much praise. I’ve read a few articles that made the point about the quality of praise: instead of telling your child “good job” for everything, tell them how neatly they folded the clothes, or what a great attitude they showed while putting away the dishes or point out that the fun you’re having in this moment is possible because the child helped clear the table and now you have more time to play.
        I enjoyed this post, Christy.

  3. Lovely post, Christy. I strongly believe that encouraging children to assume age-appropriate responsibilities is the best way to teach them to care for themselves, and others, as they grow. At my house we always used a “chore-chart” that listed daily and weekly jobs my kids had to perform, in order to earn their allowance. By doing so, they were rewarded for developing habits that would help them become successful individuals and better employees when they grew up.

    • The chore-chart sounds like it was a great way to teach them responsibilities, Amy. Those actions then simply become part of the week and they have a smoother transition into adulthood, with all of its responsibilities. I liked hearing more about your kids (adults now!) in your other comment ♥

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.