Your child will be striving for their independence from the moment that they learn to walk to the moment that they actually walk out of that door heading for college. There is little that as a parent you can do to stop this progression into maturity. The best that you can do is to try and teach them as much as you possibly can about being mature and emotionally independent so that they will know how to navigate social interactions with relative ease, regardless of your age. Here are some of the ways which are recommended for instilling maturity and responsibility in the young ones.
Teach coping with emergencies
One of the mistakes that many parents make is that instead of preparing their kids for the road, they try and prepare the road for the child. It is okay to be a little overprotective and to want to send strict warnings to every possible source of threat in your child’s life, but it will be more sensible to teach the child how to stay safe. For instance, let your teenage daughter know that relationships can be amazing, but only with the right person who really cares about them; let the young man know that she can fall in love, but he has to take care of the feelings of everyone involved. These are lessons that can be enforced by doing simple father-daughter or mother son activities such as lunches and even watching the coming of age movies together.
Encourage independence gradually
Another way that you can get your kids safely into maturity is giving the independence step by step. Start as early as when they are toddlers. For instance, when you are reading stories for your two-year-old child, allow them to turn the pages. Also, as the kids graduate in age, allow them to have different toys. For instance, when they are under the age of 10, you have to worry about toys which are a swallowing hazard, or have sharp corners and other problems, but by the time they are reaching the age of 16, you can even trust them with action figures such as power of the primes predaking and all the other transformers toys that come with it. As you allow them to play with larger toys, they will start assimilating the increasing responsibility.
Offer guided choices
Instead of waking up one day and deciding the child is old enough to make their own choices and decisions, try to introduce them to it gently by offering guided choices. The good thing about guided choices is that they do not lead to ultimatums which most of the time, create tension and lead to differences. For instance, you can ask your child whether they want to brush their teeth first then read a bedtime story or the other way around; this way, both activities have to be done, but they get to pick the order. As they get older, you will realize that they already learned that homework comes before TV, studying for the finals comes before hanging out with their friends, rent comes before clothes shopping and many other adult decisions.
Teaching emotional intelligence
This is by far the most important aspect of maturity. You want to make sure that your child has the capacity to handle all emotions ranging from extreme happiness to sad situations, without turning into a mess. Family games are the first frontier where you can teach your children that they do not always have to win. They also learn empathy, in that regardless of how stiff the competition is, when a friend gets hurt, they have to help and teamwork, where they work together with others to reach a common goal.
These are some of the ways in which you can slowly direct your child towards adulthood. As long as you give your child the needed guidance, you can be assured that they will make it safely into adulthood.