As a parent, it can be very tempting to treat your baby like a baby forever; after all, who doesn't want a smiling, giggling baby with them always? It seems far preferable to weathering through the moody, murky teenage years, or even worse, the awkward transitions of middle school. However, these are necessary rites of passage for children and their parents alike. If you're not careful, you could end up with a thirty-year-old adult child still expecting you to wait on them hand and foot. It's essential that you establish independence in your children from an early age, or else you could create many problems for them (and for you!) later down the line.
No Independence Means No Confidence
Though you might consider yourself a star parent for tending to your kid's every need, you could really be doing more harm than good for them. By not entrusting them with these responsibilities and doing everything yourself, you might make them feel as though they can't be trusted to be independent. When they're adults, they could continue to have this feeling of incompetency and they may struggle to bloom into the self-assured, assertive adult that you would want them to be.
Be sure you trust your child with some achievable, constructive responsibilities (maybe some chores, grade expectations, etc.) that they complete on their own. They won't like these rules now, but it'll provide them with an experience of successful personal responsibility that'll stick with them.
Early Independence Can Impact Relationships
If your child gets a little too used to depending on you, it could cause problems in their relationships later in life. By being doted on 24/7, your child will learn to expect a similar VIP treatment from everyone, including close friends and partners. They'll learn to put much less effort into their relationships because you, being the superstar mom that you are, did everything for them, while they did nothing. Make sure you give your kid the chance to do things for themselves so they know relationships require effort on both sides. You could try activities like baking or making dinner together, or having your child set the dinner table, so that everyone is pitching in.
Keeping Your Relationship With Your Child Intact
Learning to be independent is also important for your ever-changing relationship with your child. By raising them to be independent, you are paving the way for an easier transition into the world of adulthood. It can be alarming and emotional for your child to go off to college or rent their first apartment, but events like these are good milestones for your child coming into their own. If you try to prevent this march forward into adulthood because you can't bear the thought of losing your baby, you can create many difficulties for the both of you.
Independence is Vital for Career Success
It may seem unrelated, but raising an independent child provides them with the skills to succeed in many different aspects of life, including their career. Whatever field your child pursues, employers are looking for creative, thoughtful, and resourceful workers that are willing to put in the effort to excel in their industry. So, if your child is used to having everything done for them, they won't be as competitive in the job market as a free-thinking go-getter who puts in 100%. It's always hard to see your kid grow up. But watching them grow into a strong, adult version of themselves is a different gift altogether!
Developing an Independent Self
Independence and identity go hand-in-hand. Through your efforts to raise an independent child, you'll also notice that your kid starts to develop different tastes from yours: maybe they're copying kids at school, or following some celebrity trend. Maybe a sandwich with peanut butter, bananas, and pickles is an original creation of their own! Who knows? It might be nice to think of having a little version of yourself follow you around all the time, but the truth is, kids being influenced by their peers and the outside world is an important part of their development. Allowing your child the chance to explore these other influences outside of the family sphere allows for them to have their own sense of self that isn't dependent solely on you, and gets the ball rolling for a confident, independent adult in the future.