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I Push My Kids To Be Independent & Sometimes It Gets Messy

Before we had children, my husband and I decided that we were going to do our best to raise them to be independent. We've seen way too many parents "baby" their children, and it's very detrimental to their growth both mentally and emotionally. We didn't want to raise children who didn't know how to do things on their own without us breathing down their necks. We wanted to make sure that our kids didn't feel like they had to rely on us for everything.

When I went to college, I met one too many young adults who didn't know how to do the dishes. One of my roommates put dish soap in the dishwasher (Yes, really!), and was surprised when bubbles filled out the kitchen. How did she not know what would happen?! As a parent, I've found myself sitting in shock when I see preteens not even know how to plate food for themselves. It's fascinating yet sad.

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Part of training children to be independent involves backing off. This is much harder for my husband than it is for me. He gets very stressed out when my kids are making messes while they're learning to do things on their own. But I have to tell him that it's good for them. Yes, they make a mess- but that's part of the process.

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For example, I encourage my two-year-old to go over to the fridge and fill up his own water cup. He makes a mess doing it, but soon he won't need me to get him water. My four-year-old and five-year-old know how to get themselves snacks, water and do other things all on their own. Yes, they've made a lot of messes in the process- but we're slowly getting better.

I love the confidence that my children gain every time they learn how to do something new without the help of Mom and Dad. They fail a lot, yes. But when they get it on their own, it's a beautiful thing. They've dumped water on the ground, poured too much dressing on their salad, have slipped and fallen, and have gotten dirty. Although it often makes my life harder at the moment and stresses my husband out (he's slowly losing his hair), I know that it's for the better.

When my children leave me one day, they'll have the confidence that they need to conquer the world. I won't be there to help them for the rest of their lives, and they need to understand that concept. That'll be a hard day, but it'll be easier knowing they're ready for almost anything.

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