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Educating to form independent and autonomous children

Educating to form independent and autonomous children

June 24, 2024

Make children and adolescents become independent and autonomous It is one of the main objectives that parents have set at some point in their lives.

And the truth is that although this process of educating young people to be more free sounds very well, it is not a path of roses, and often presents great difficulties: rebellious adolescents who prefer not to strive, fathers and mothers who sabotage unconsciously the attempts of their children to do things autonomously, lack of guidelines to follow, etc.

  • Related article: "Toxic families: 4 ways in which they cause mental disorders"

Next I will show keys to understanding how the learning and education process should be to train more independent children and youth .


Keys to educate in autonomy focused on parents

Part of the changes to be made to boost the independence of the little ones must be made in the way of thinking and in the behavior of the adults who take care of them. These are the guidelines that must be taken into account.

1. Believe in your ability

The first step in facilitating the autonomous learning process of children and adolescents is believe that they are capable of carrying it out . Something that is written seems very simple but, in reality, it is not so much; It means seeing with other eyes both the behavior of the children and the role of oneself as a father, mother or legal guardian.

A young person will not begin to act autonomously if the implicit message communicated by the person who encourages him or her is that this is a task that another person must do for him, giving him orders or deciding what should be done.


2. Lose the fear of the situation

Many fathers and mothers stop their children's autonomous learning unconsciously because they are afraid of what may happen . As the existence of a daughter or an independent child supposes that one loses control over what this person does, pessimistic ideas about what can happen can assault our imagination frequently. For example, you think about the dangerous friendships you can make, the drug use you can expose, the accidents you may suffer from not being careful, etc.

These ideas have such an emotional impact that when parents see that their children begin to gain independence, his attention is focused on these catastrophic thoughts, as if his existence were in itself a real danger . From there, we move on to rumination, that is, thinking in a loop about what causes stress: in this case, the (relative) dangers of having more independent children than before. Adults feel bad because they imagine those situations, and imagine those situations because they feel bad.


To solve this, it is necessary to go through two phases:

Restructuring ideas

It must be clear that the dangers faced by autonomous people due to the fact that they do not have the constant vigilance of a protective figure are very relative, and that the real possibilities of fulfilling these omens are very low. On the other hand, we must remember that the danger is much more likely to raise a daughter or son who remains helpless even when he has long since entered adulthood, if you do not change your attitude.

Break with rumination

Managing the initial stress that in some cases may imply greater autonomy for children and adolescents becomes necessary in some cases. For this, you can read this article about what rumination is and how it can be neutralized.

3. Admit the need to work harder

Educating independent sons and daughters is another task in the series of activities involved in the education of the new generations and, therefore, it requires extra effort . Although it may seem that constantly controlling young children and adolescents is a major annoyance, in reality it is not: helping children to empower themselves involves teaching them the tools to do so, and that is something that costs, especially at the beginning.

On the other hand, impatience and the desire not to devote much time to an activity that is being learned makes many parents impede the possibility of learning fundamental tasks such as dressing or bathing in younger children, or going out to buy and keep some savings, in teenagers. So keep in mind that the first few times are always slow and cost, and that "accelerating" those moments intervening oneself about what the youngster should be doing is a way to sabotage the learning, however convenient that may result from face to own comfort.

Therefore, parents and caregivers should bear in mind that often the lack of initiative and autonomy of their children is born from the fact that they prefer to continue exercising control, because that is more comfortable and simple, and that that attitude makes attempts to behave independently to be rejected and punished .

4. Know how to detect requests for independence

In their position of people who really know what is happening better than the children they educate, parents and guardians often underestimate their own criteria and petitions , believing that they know how to interpret what they really want better than they do. This reasoning is fallacious and, in addition, it is a way of creating a series of ideas about one's relationship with children that will never be challenged or forced to adapt to the rhythm of their growth.

When a child says "I alone" when performing a task that is being learned, it is necessary for the caregiver to spend at least a few seconds thinking whether opposing this request is really reasonable or not. In the same way, it must be borne in mind that petitions for autonomy by the youngest children are very diverse and, in some cases, subtle, and that it is necessary to develop a certain sensitivity in order to detect them.

Strategies to educate in independence focused on young people

Now that we have seen what attitude adults should adopt when it comes to educating young people and children to be independent, let's see how you can promote change in the latter .

1. Spend more time together

Something as simple as spending more time with young people is an ingredient that promotes learning exponentially. Of course, must be times in which the timeshare is of quality : to be in the same room seeing two different screens with an account, because there is no dialogue.

The conversations and games that appear spontaneously in these contexts are a source of knowledge that makes young people see the world with different eyes, raise new questions and become interested in more topics. The latter is fundamental, since curiosity is the motor of learning.

2. Investigate your tastes and interests

The most effective way to make children and young people interested in learning new activities that give them more autonomy is to relate them to the topics that interest them , either creating narrations in which the topics of interest are framed and those that must be learned, as exercises in which both elements are found.

3. Experiment with reward systems

In some cases, Incentive systems similar to chip economics can be useful to boost learning and independence : every time significant progress is made, a reward is given that should not be delayed.

The ideal is that the rewards are scarce and more symbolic than material, since in this way they symbolize the obtaining of a series of competences and abilities that are a consequence of learning in itself, instead of being a totally alien thing to this and, therefore, they are more related to intrinsic motivation.

This strategy, added to the previous one, can make the incentives more attractive. For example, if the child is very interested in fictions based on a magical world, the rewards can be medals related to those fictional universes.


A Dangerous Idea: Autonomy in Deaf Education | Joseph Santini | TEDxGallaudet (June 2024).


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