How Much Independence Should Your Child Have?

Posted by Tiara Swinson on December 07, 2018

It's okay to let your child be independentOver the past couple of generations, there has been a dynamic shift in what is considered by the masses to be "proper parenting" techniques. It wasn't that long ago when children were encouraged to be more self-reliant. During these times, many children got themselves home from school and would begin their homework, do chores, or even roam about the neighborhood to visit with their friends. Children were often told they could play within certain boundaries and were given simple curfews such as being home before dinner time or when the street lights came on.  

The Sudden Shift

Within the past decade, suddenly everything has changed. Children are constantly monitored by parents, and rarely, if ever, left unsupervised. You will not find children roaming the parks or neighborhood looking for friends to play with unless they have a parent in tow or an already scheduled supervised playdate.

Many parents who support the helicopter parenting style believe that in this day and age their children are not as safe as they were years ago. Fortunately, statistics do not back up this data and crime has decreased since the 70s, especially in regards to child-related crimes.

Instead, perhaps the need to ensure children are protected is because the socially accepted form of parenting has changed. Many parents now face public ridicule and judgment by what others may consider poor parenting choices. It does seem that cultural influences affect how people parent, instead of simple regard for safety. In cultures such as Japan, children are encouraged to become independent at a young age. This may be due to the importance of community where children can rely on community members for assistance. 

Parents Who Promote Independence vs Helicopters 

There are many stories of neglectful parents shared on social media. Many of these parents have simply chosen to not monitor their kids at all times and are condemned for it. There have been multiple cases where parents have been judged and even reported for allowing children to walk to and from school alone or attend a park by themselves. Since none of these acts are illegal, is the reason these parents are condemned simply a moral standard of parenting that has been accepted as the social norm? Unfortunately, fears of being criticized cause many parents to limit their children's independence through chronic monitoring. Perhaps finding a solution that lies somewhere in the middle will keep our children safe while still fostering independence. 

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Topics: independent, Parenting Skills, Parent-Child Relationships

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