Just like a bird teaches their baby how to fly and get food, it's important for us to train our children to be independent. You don't see a mama bird say, "Oh, just stay here in the nest. There's plenty of room and it's hard to fly and get food. You can just stay here longer." I've never seen that happen!

It's very important that we train our children so that they can become independent adults. Here are the top 10 reasons why:

  • It conveys to our children the message "You are valuable and capable and worthwhile."

  • You'll get help with all the work there is to do! They need to clean their own rooms, do their own laundry, make some of the meals.

  • We will be much better parents. We are keeping the "end" in mind - we want them to be independent adults.

  • It reminds the child, "You can do this." They'll do more things earlier and better.

  • It will help their education. Things they're learning will be important to the things they're doing. When they learn to bake a cake, understanding measurements and math will make more sense.

  • They will have better self-esteem. True self-esteem comes from doing things for yourself.

  • They'll appreciate you a whole lot more. It only takes one time fixing the car or making a meal to realize how hard it is.

  • Your child will have courage and confidence to try new things and harder things.

  • Your parenting will make much more sense. You are training your child to be an independent adult and everything you do will work toward that goal.

  • They will move out when they are adults and have grandchildren! Yeah, the big reward!

Some parents don't understand how important it is to train their children to be independent. Case in point is Freida, who had one child. Freida often felt deprived as a youth because she grew up in a home with a frugal mother. She decided when she had a child that she would never tell the child no. It is now fascinating to see this same child at the age of about 35. He can barely function on his own and Mom is still taking care of his bank account and finances. Is he truly happy? No way.

You may consider this quite the extreme and that you would never do such a thing. Many parents are communicating exactly the same thing when they give in all the time. They are saying, "Well, I'll say no, but if you whine enough and complain enough and wear me down enough, that will change to a yes."

Contrast this with parents who keep the end in mind while raising their children. These parents understand that even though teaching your child independence may not always make you popular with them in the short run, in the long run it shows your children that you loved them enough not to care if they liked every rule.

These parents understand that if they keep their nurturing in check, or better yet, focused, then they can accomplish great things. They can train their children to learn and then do on their own. They can refuse to do things their children are capable of doing, resisting the requisite whining and complaining that will inevitably occur, and train their children to be independent.

This parental attitude conveys a singularly important message to the child - "You are valuable and capable and worthwhile."

When we train our children well, they will be able to fly on their own and take care of themselves. Truly, that is the primary goal of parenting.

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