5 Ways to Raise an Independent Child

By Richard Rende, PhD  @richardrendephd
April 03, 2017

Kids have to have people skills

You don’t have to be an extravert to know how to get along with others. Part of being an independent player in the world today is to know how to work with others. Kids have to learn how to collaborate well, how to communicate with others, and how to manage conflicts equitably. Do projects with your kids that are infused with a collaborative spirit and help them find ways to contribute to the tasks at hand. They can learn how to crack an egg and watch you scramble it; when they are ready to scramble their own egg, be there to make the toast in a coordinated fashion. They can sort their dirty clothes and help you load them in the washer; if they can load them in the washer, help them sort and fold them when they are clean and dry. The idea is to get them acclimated to sharing responsibilities with good spirit – here the emphasis is on the people skill of collaborating in terms of being complementary and complimentary. Being a good communicator – someone who can express thoughts and listens to those of others – is essential. Talk a lot to your kids and have uninterrupted conversations that take turns and exchange ideas. And practice sound conflict management strategies that avoid escalation of negative emotions and turf wars in favor of exchanging perspectives and negotiating “win-win” solutions. The independent person of the future will need to know how to function in a world that demands knowing how to work well with a range of people – and not knowing how to “play well in the sandbox” may override whatever talents someone has and undermine career development.

We all want our kids to find their way toward independence. That will take a number of skills that can easily be fostered in the home by you.


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April 07, 2020