by Peter Minkoff October 14, 2021 3 min read

mother & son

You’ve read all the books, prepared yourself for different life stages of your little ones, and you’ve been there for every toothache, fever, and acne trouble. Despite all that commitment, wisdom, and experience, few things in life seem to prepare us for letting go. As your kids grow up, they build a stronger bond with you, but at the same time, they start carving out their own life’s journey.

Your role can be a multifaceted one. You can help your kids spread their wings, find worthy winds, and pursue their passions and goals. You can also be their voice of caution, but learn how to moderate that voice not to become a helicopter parent when your kids really need a sense o independence.

Mistakes are okay, in fact, mistakes are wonderful, theirs as much as yours. So, to help you help your kids, here are a few ideas that can strengthen your relationship and empower their independence at the same time.

Communication is priceless

Depending on how old your kids are, you’ll notice that they talk to you differently when they’re still little dreamers compared to how they start perceiving the world in later school years. While this is perfectly natural, you can help them navigate their own expectations, dreams, and goals by regularly expressing interest in their views and passions.

Ask concrete questions to kick-start meaningful interactions. Questions like “How would you like to make a difference in the world? What kind of things do you like to do? How do you see those skills as useful in life?” Keep in mind that these views and opinions will change, so it’s good to check in regularly and let them open up to you. In doing so, they’ll put their own desires in perspective.

Encourage inquisitiveness and trying new things

child coloring

No matter how old they are, kids should be curious about life and their future. While you can’t do things for them (as much as some parents would love to), you can encourage them to take on new challenges, projects, and develop new skills.

Show them some new groups and classes available in your community, whether they’re for dancing, ice-skating, singing, playing an instrument, chess, or anything in between. See what sparks their interest and if they have a tendency to shy away from new experiences – a little encouragement from you can mean so much.

Tech is fun – show them it can be helpful, too

Your kids are growing up in the midst of a tech boom, so they are digital natives, and they function around gadgets all day, every day. However, most kids still perceive the online world as a source of fun, almost exclusively. You can give them some direction in using the online world as a way to learn in more engaging ways and prepare for education-related challenges.

When it’s time for their SACE exams, for example, they can use online platforms to find a reliable SACE study guide to help them speed up the process and master the subject matter more easily. Help them leverage tech as part of their academic growth, while they use it for fun, too.

Let them fail, but be their cheerleader

mother and child doing yoga

Nobody likes it, but we all experience it almost daily: failure. The dreaded anxiety of not living up to one’s own expectations, let alone those that society imposes on us can be difficult for any child to face.

It’s not up to you to prevent failure in your kids’ lives. Much more so, you should help them how they can learn from those experiences, get better at facing challenges, and learn to love themselves not despite, but because of their imperfections. They’re what makes us human, and the sooner your kids start embracing that part of their experience, the easier they’ll embrace independence.

Parenting is far from a perfect set of pre-defined abilities you can pick up from books and sage advice. It comes with a steep learning curve, so remember that you are learning as you go, as much as your kids are. Recognizing your kids’ needs to grow and fostering their independence is a challenging process, but one that you’re capable of mastering – use these ideas to your advantage, and your kids will flourish.