How To Raise An Independent Child

Actually probably several videos in the positive parenting playlist on this channel. We go over this model several times and I’ve referred back to it. So as a quick review, what we’re looking at here is the interplay between control and maturity. This is really important to understand as we want to teach children to be more independent and I want to open up a whole new can of worms today. Having to do with teenagers because really as they become teenagers, we want them to be more independent. The little kids of course they’re not going to be independent but we want them to learn things along the way that help them to gain the maturity that’s necessary to take that level of control. So as a quick review. Control means control over your own life. It can go from 0 to 100% control. Maturity has to do with how grown-up we are or our kids are. So it starts with being very immature and goes to the this mature end of the scale over here.

Now the line up through the middle is how much control you have at different stages of maturity. So you can see as you increase in maturity, you get to increase in control. And this is true for your kids too. The more mature they are, the more control they get to have in their own life. Does that sound like independence? Yeah that’s why we’re reviewing the model. Our role as parents has to do with taking the proper amount of control up here on the top of the graph. So when our kids are in stage one, remember stage one is selfish and self-centered and immature in a lot of ways. That stage one, there’s a lot of fighting and yelling and screaming manipulating and demanding. Does this sound familiar to you? That’s stage one. When our kids are in stage one, they don’t have much self-control. They’re not ready for independence at stage on.e We as parents have to take up most of the control.

That’s on the top side of the line. Stage two is where we stop fighting and start cooperating so when your kids are cooperating with you. They’re on stage two at least by definition. Cooperation is the dividing line between stage 1 and stage 2. So at stage 2, we don’t want any problems. We want to keep the peace. So we’re going to negotiate. We’re going to work with people. We’re going to try to achieve a win-win kind of a solution. This is stage 2 .Well as a parent, you get to back off on stage 2. You don’t have to be so controlling on stage 2, why? Because your kids are taking more control in an appropriate and mature way. Now stage 3 is where we have awesome things like responsibility and service and empathy and initiative. These are the things that define stage 3. So as a parent you get to back way off. When I get the question, how do I teach my kid to be more independent? I immediately translate it in my mind to how can I invite my child to a higher level of maturity? And remember it’s about stage not age. So even kids at a younger age can be fairly independent or mature if we can get them to buy off on the values and the behaviors that are consistent with a higher stage of moral development. How do we entice our kids to come this way? And I’ve decided to share three little tips with you that help to move kids this direction. Now remember this, your job as a parent is to love them no matter what and even if that’s your job, we get distracted sometimes as parent and we want to make sure that our kids do whatever right. No, that’s kind of controlling and it’s going to get in your way in a lot of ways. Our job is to love them no matter what and even if because we love them we want them to achieve a higher level of maturity. Why? because it makes our life easier. Yeah right. But that’s a secondary reason for it.

The reason we want them to achieve a higher level of maturity is because we love them. Are you with me on this? And when they go to that higher level of maturity, they get to have more control and freedom and independence in their own life. So keep that perspective in place because otherwise everything that I share with you is just manipulation. Had a mom in my office just a few days ago. She has a son who is an older teen. Almost a young adult. Now can you see why she is hoping that he will become more independent? As I was consulting with her, it became very obvious that because he is older now, now forget about maturity the way we’ve talked about it for just a minute. Because he’s older, he’s taking more control over his life but because he’s not very mature yet, he’s not doing it in a way that’s serving him very well. You parents can relate with this I’m sure. With the teenager in mind, these particular steps work even better for those older kids or the teens. But you can use them to a certain extent with the younger ones as well. So here’s the first step. Get to yes. Now what do I mean by this? Have you noticed as a parent sometimes you’re always saying, “no.” It’s like no, you can’t do this, no you can’t do that, you are a benevolent, generous, loving parent. There’s all kinds of arguments for that. You’re already giving your kids more than they probably deserve.

Okay so you’re a benevolent, generous, loving parent. I want you to get to yes. So going back to this example, this mom that I was meeting with the other day, her son came to her asking for money, right? No your younger kids aren’t going to ask for money necessarily but you can do the translation in your head. This older teen, almost young-adult wanted some money. Alright, no he’s got a job but he’s spending all of his money on whatever. He’s spending it on and then he got into a little bit of a crisis. So he’s looking to mom to bail him out. Mom traditionally would bail him out, but she’s realizing now that that doesn’t serve him well. It’s not teaching him to be more mature. It’s teaching him to just squanders money on whatever he did and then go to mom when he needs a bailout. You see what we’re talking about? So she is inclined to say, yes to him but she’s done it in ways that have bailed him out in the past. When I say get to yes, think that your default answer is going to be yes if or yes when. Do you see? We’re putting it in a context where there’s some contingencies involved.

Now, play this out in your mind. So kid comes to mom. “Mom I need some money to take care of this emergency.” “Oh son, yes I would be happy to help.” And then I want you to pause. Okay this is the power of the pause in negotiation skills we teach this all the time. The next one to speak is usually the one that has the lower hand. So you want to have the upper hand in this. Just pause. “Yes son, I’d be happy to help.” See mom got to yes right there. Now what’s going to come up for the kid? “Well, where’s the money?” Right? he wants you to just hand it over. Well if he asks that then you go to the then you go to the contingency. “Yes, son I would be happy to give you the money that you need if…” And then you put in the contingency. Okay, if you complete this particular course. If you do this particular assignment. If you are willing to provide whatever, okay? And for this mom, she wants him to get back into his education. So there was a course that she’s been kind of nagging him to take. “Yes son I would be happy to give you the $200 you’re asking for as soon as you complete the course that I’ve asked you to complete.” Okay, so mom gets to yes. We put a contingency on it. Now let’s go to tip number two. I think you’re going to like this one. No problem. It’s really another version of getting to yes but let me just address another concept for a moment. Problem ownership. Who owns this problem? Now, the best answer to that that I’ve been able to come with up with.

The person who’s the most bothered, owns the problem. Yeah, that’s going to sting a little because us parents sometimes, we’re more bothered about something than our kids are. Well own it. If you’re bothered by it, it’s your problem. How do we make it the child’s problem? Part of what we’re going to do is disconnect to the emotion. In fact let’s go to tip number three because we’ll tie these in together. Tip number three is all business. In other words the discipline becomes all business and we’re going to take all of the emotion out of the discipline and put the emotion back where it belongs in the relationship. When you look at these two together it becomes very powerful. These tips especially with teenagers and all their kids, are going to work really well. So your kid comes to you and says, “well what if I don’t want to do that thing that I have to do to get the yes. What if I don’t want to do that assignment? What if I don’t want to take that course? I don’t feel like going to your stupid thing!” “No problem.” Now I want you to say it with a little, little tear voice. Raise your eyebrows just to touch.

Okay, because this makes kids nervous. “No problem. Meaning, no problem for me.” Possible problem coming up for you but I’ll let you do your own thinking about that. Think versus fight. We’ve talked about that in other videos too. You want your kids to think not fight. No problem with a little lilt to your voice and raising your eyebrows puts them in thinking mode and takes you out of the emotional connection. So that we can make it all business. No problem. Let me know if you change your mind. See now mom does not have to give him the money. Does she? Is she willing to? Yes upon his compliance with what she’s asked him to do. See that’s the key. But she’s not trying to cram it down his throat. “Oh no problem, let me know if you change your mind.” But mom, I need that money now.” “Okay, so you’re reconsidering?” Do you see that? It’s all business. Get to yes. Use no problem, make all the discipline about business. This is how we can invite our kids to move to a higher level of maturity.