How to Develop Independence in Children (Part 1)

Being able to think, learn and make good choices independently remains one of the most important skills that a child can acquire.​

B.Ed, M..Ed
Registered Psychologist
I have worked in schools and private practice as a teacher and a School Psychologist for over 35 years.

Being able to think, learn and make good choices independently remains one of the most important skills that a child can acquire.​ While “spoon feeding” children can sometimes offer the most direct route to observable progress, it is possible to support academic, behavioural and social-emotional development in ways that allow for independence without sacrificing growth, outcomes or results​.

There are three important factors required in order for our children to become independent.

  1. Parents, teachers and students may need to adjust their mindset so that       failure is viewed as an opportunity for growth.​
  2. Parents and teachers should aim to concrete the conditions with children that empower them to become more independent.​
  3. Parents and teachers must be prepared for the inevitable emotional distress which comes from increasing demands for independence.​
  4. Failure is best viewed as an opportunity for growth and to learn.

Parents may fear that there will be long-term consequences if their child fails to meet academic, behavioral, social-emotional or other expectations such as missing out on future opportunities. They also often worry about the impact of failure on their child’s self-esteem.​

Teachers may fear that student failure will be perceived as a reflection on their own instructional abilities.​

Students may fear not being able to live up to their own and other’s expectations and not measuring up to their peers​

TIPS:

  • Be aware of your own fears as a parent or teacher.
  • Redefine failure with children as an opportunity to learn about themselves and build the important skill of perseverance​
  • Use case studies to contextualize the benefits of failure including your own struggles and how you eventually triumphed.
  • Provide positive feedback for the process of learning from one’s mistakes.
Deborah Hinds-Nunziata
B.Ed, M..Ed Registered Psychologist I have worked in schools and private practice as a teacher and a School Psychologist for over 35 years.