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Developing Autonomy and Independence

Number 4 in our series on top parenting competencies has to do with how parents encourage their children to become self sufficient and self reliant.  Parents need to support their children’s efforts to assert their independence and resolve their own conflicts and problems.

A good start is basic respect.  Parents need to treat their children with respect and communicate the idea that their opinions and thoughts are important and worthy of attention. Children who are treated respectfully tend to have more self confidence and to be more able to trust their own judgment and actions. 

This also requires that parents allow their children to fail.  While keeping children safe is important (it makes the top ten, but at number ten) we shouldn’t try to protect them from the pain of disappointment and failure.  Learning to tolerate those feelings is important in learning to face life.  So is developing the expectation they need to act themselves to resolve their problems rather than count on someone else to do it for them. 

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