How Parents Can Teach Independence
Maybe I’m not the only one who lives in the tension of letting (or requiring) the kids to help and simply knocking out a task on my own. One is better for the short term and the other for the long. Ashley reminds us of the tremendous value of handing over tasks to our kids as they learn and grow under our care.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
My parents intentionally equipped me for adulthood by letting me practice independence and carrying responsibility under their watchful care and guidance. At the time I wasn’t always appreciative of the weight of responsibility, but now as an adult, I am so incredibly thankful my parents allowed me to learn before the stakes were higher.
By giving me responsibility and teaching me to be independent at home (where it was okay if I failed or messed up), I gained the building blocks for a successful life. Be intentional in teaching your kids these valuable life skills.
- Teach your kids to do their laundry and help with meals. There is a sense of pride that comes with being able to do your own laundry and cook your own meal. They will have to do their own laundry and eat in college when they are away from you; instead of them learning their first semester alone in their dorm, it’s better to teach them right now under your guidance! (Gal 6:5, Eph 6:4, Prov 22:6, 1 Cor 14:40).
- Teach your kids the value of money and how to be responsible with it. Teach your kids how to follow a simple budget. Our friends over at Focus on the Family have an excellent guide for a “10-10-10-70” plan. They explain the importance of teaching your kids how to tithe, save, give charitably and spend responsibly. When kids understand that money (and everything we have) is from and belongs to God, they are able to handle it responsibly and selflessly. Also let your kids pay for some of their own things. When they want a toy, or the newest video game, teach them how to save up for it (Prov 3:9-10, Acts 20:35, Lev 27:30).
- When your kids are old enough to start driving, teach them vehicle care and allow them to pay for insurance and gas. Teach your kids how to change a flat tire and jump start a car (or learn together if you don’t know how). Let your kids help pay for their car as well. Insurance and gas are not cheap, so allowing your kids to help pay for those will build ownership and those things won’t come as a surprise later (Luke 16:10)
By allowing your kids to practice being responsible and independent while still in your care, you give them room to learn, make mistakes, and get better. They are in the safety of your guidance and can bloom and grow. When they get to college and beyond, they will thank you for helping to prepare them to take care of themselves.
When your parents give you room to be independent and responsible, honor them and God by making good choices and doing a good job. Ask questions and remember the answers. You’re going to need that knowledge someday! Show initiative by doing something before your parents ask, like taking out the trash when it’s full, putting the dishes away, or helping take care of your younger siblings.