We’ve all run into them before: People who seem to have no idea how to function in the real world. High schoolers who can’t keep track of their own school assignments. College kids who have never done a load of laundry. Young adults who know how to upload a video to YouTube but have no idea how to prepare a meal. And as much as we want to blame Facebook or liberals or “kids these days” for these shortcomings, the truth is that parents can be a significant part of the problem.
While I think the most important thing in the world is to make sure kids have parents at all, I do think it’s vital, as moms and dads, that we try to raise independent kids — kids who will turn into productive, healthy adults. I’m all for loving kids unconditionally, but I also want to help them grow up to be responsible. I want them to be confident and courageous and self-assured. That means challenging them, even while they’re young, to do things for themselves. And that means not hovering over them all the time. It’s hard right now (for them and me), but it’s worthwhile in the long run. Here are my ten rules for raising independent kids.