How to Raise Independent Children

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By Camille Aagard, 2019 BYU Law School graduate 2019 and mother of 5. When she went back to school to study law, her children were between ages 6 and 16. 

Helicopter parenting does more harm than good. I used to hover over science projects. Now they do their own. They are self reliant. Here are five tips for raising children who can solve their own problems and who have the confidence to transition to being young adults.

  1. Have kids ride their bikes to dance and sports. Live near their schools if you can. Only enroll in activities they can get themselves to.
  2. Have checking accounts with each kid having an ATM card. Have access to that account on your phone.
  3. Have a chore chart and monitor it. We total the results at the end of the week and pay our kids who did their jobs (usually by transferring money on an app from the bank accounts of those kids who did not do their jobs).
  4. Don’t pay for your kids’ stuff. Not their clothing. Not their socks nor ski passes. Then they will be hungry to earn money. For example, I paid my 13-year-old daughter to decorate the house for Christmas. It astonished me how expertly she executed that whole project. It looks better than if I had done it.
  5. Teach kids to use mass transit. Our kids can get themselves all the way to Snowbird and back. Even in Utah County, kids can learn to use the bus system and FrontRunner. They can also take the initiative to coordinate carpools when needed.
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