All parents hope that their children will grow up to be independent children who learn how to do things on their own without depending on another person to make them happy or fulfilled. Of course your child will look to you for protection, security, and guidance, but he should also learn to make his own goals and persevere in them. He should also learn how to entertain himself and solve his own problems to some extent. Your child doesn’t have to wait until he’s an adolescent to learn these things. You can begin teaching your child when during toddlerhood so that he builds his self-confidence early in life.

Contingent Children
Contingent toddlers need other people to tell them how they should feel about themselves. This is not how you want your toddler to be, but unfortunately, some parents create this level of dependence in their children to satisfy their own needs for power and control, and some parents are unaware that they are turning their toddlers into contingent children.

Contingent toddlers are made when parents feel like they will always make the best decision for their children or are fearful about letting their children make choices for themselves. When this happens, toddlers learn to always allow their parents to make their decisions or feel that they can’t make decision for themselves without assistance.

Independent Children
Just the opposite, independent toddlers learn to make personal choices and experience the consequences of making good and bad decisions. They are allowed to experience these consequences by parents who want to ensure that their child’s happiness will not always be dependent on another person.

Allowing your child some freedom to choose and lead will enable him to make his own goals and learn how to accomplishment them through perseverance and hard work. Children who are given some measure of independence usually have parents who use extrinsic rewards appropriately and sparingly. Often parents who raise independent children are more collaborative rather than controlling, though that doesn’t mean they always negotiate with their toddlers. Independent toddlers are guided by their parents, but not held back or overly protected to the point of being sheltered.

Taking Responsibility
Taylor's Law of Family Responsibilities says that if family members fulfill their own responsibilities and do not assume others', then children develop into independent people and everyone is happy. That being said, what are parent’s responsibilities and what are their children’s responsibilities? Plainly put, parents need to provide their children with guidance and opportunities to form and purse goals. It is the children’s responsibility to be disciplined, obedient, and explore their world and goals to the best of their abilities.

Taylor, J. (2010, November 16). Parenting: raise independent children.Psychology Today.