How I am raising an independent girl

Raising an independent girl is not as easy as I thought it would be! Not long after Olivia was born I realized how different she was from the boys. She tended to to want to be closer and not as independent as the boys were at an early age and needed more from me. as she grew in to being a toddler of course me being a doting dad I did everything for her. Not long after turning 4 I realized that I had to start separating myself a bit from her and guide her gently in to becoming more independent. So here are some of the things I have done over the last year.

  • Β She needs water – I have her get it on her own. for this she just needed a step stool so she could reach the tap. (although sometimes this just ends up with playing in the water so I chalk it up to sensory play).
  • She wants to eat – I have her take a look and find what she wants to eat and then I will make it with her. If it’s a simple sandwich I put everything out that she will need and have her make it at the table beside me. Besides learning how to make her own lunch I have found that she will eat the food she has made guaranteed so it’s a bonus with no wasted food.
  • Cleaning her own room – Since I have started with her cleaning her own room I have found that it takes a long time because she tends to play a lot while doing it, but the bonus in that is she no longer asks for help and really to me as long as the end result is a clean floor, how long it takes her does not matter. Oh and most recently she has been making her own bed on top of it
  • making friends – I used to stay close to her in the park and be with her if she wanted to ask a girl to play, but I started quite a while ago taking a step back encouraging her to learn to introduce herself to new possible friends. At first i would stand a step behind her and then two and so on. Now I sit or stand on the perimeter of the play ground and let her make her own decisions, but when she looks at me for reassurance I smile and nod my head so she knows I am watching and she feels that boost of confidence she needs.

Modern Dad independent

  • Kids don’t want to play with her – It doesn’t happen often, but what do you do if she is shunned? You tell her they aren’t very good people to know if they are not willing to get to know you or play with you! You do not need people like that in your life. She has grasped this concept well and when it happens she no longer comes crying, she comes to me and will say “I don’t need friends like that daddy” with a smile. She will however never forget and if they do come up to her at a future outing she will tell them and I have heard her “I don’t need friends like you! I asked you to play before and you wouldn’t”! I am not sure completely on that part yet?
  • To ask directly – I had noticed Olivia was getting in to the habit of hinting rather than asking for things she wanted. So I started to ignore her hints and would simply start telling her that I do not understand hinting and I needed a direct question and I would answer appropriately whether it was the answer she wanted or not. I had to rework this a bit though as I had to teach her to not ask for other peoples stuff. So be careful there.
  • Playing on her own – For months Olivia would melt down if no one would play with her when she wanted. and it took me a good while to get her to a point where she would. She has now found the joy and imagination that comes with playing on her own as she can make the story whatever she wishes.

So these are the things I am concentrating on right now! I want teach her if you want something you get it yourself. I want her to be independent and strong and to know who’s welcome in her life and who isn’t. I want her to know what she wants and make it happen and I think little by little each day I see her becoming that person I so want her to be, but still want and need me to be there for her. I think I am achieving that. She’s happy, loves to joke and have fun kind of girl with a zest for life and she won’t let anyone drag her down. That’s how I want her to be.

Modern Dad indepenentI have come to realize that I cannot make her how I imagine her. I have to let her become who she is to become. I can only guide her and give her the strengths that will help her to become that person. If she doesn’t accept the guidance I give I now realize that that’s who she will become as she will only take from me what she needs.

Beau Twins
Handbags and Snot Rags

Author: Modern dad

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46 Comments

  1. No idea why but this has brought a tear to my eye! You’re an amazing devoted father and Olivia (and the boys) are blessed to have you. Instilling her with independence and confidence are two of the greatest gifts you can give her!x

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  2. Good to encourage her to be independent. I love that she plays with toys whilst tidying them up! #wineandboobs

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  3. You sound like an amazing Father, I’m so happy to hear that she no longer gets upset about the friends thing, definitely what I will be telling my son in the same instance. She sounds like she’ll become a wonderful going lady! #wineandboobs

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  4. I have a super confident and independent five year old. I’m a single parent, not co-parenting at all so I worried that she would cling to me like a limpet, but she introduces herself to people better than I do. I agree that having her help me prepare food helps prevent a lot of waste. She really gets into cooking. I don’t think I’ve cracked an egg by myself in about 2 years.
    #wineandboobs

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  5. That’s a lovely post! Your kids are lucky to have you as their dad. Love how she copes with rejection – that’s great advice. Thanks for hosting #wineandboobs

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  6. Some great ideas about encouraging and not directing children. You want to mould them into likeable young people but at the same time give them the space to develop their own personalities and it seems you are doing just that. πŸ™‚

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  7. What fantastic tips to encourage independence in your little ones.
    It’s strange because the toles are reversed in this house and it’s the girls that are very independent and the boys that need encouragement.
    My 12 year old still need a push when we are out in public to speak up for himself, but we encourage it as they need to fend for themselves sooner than they think.

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  8. A bit like you #BabyPink is my only daughter. Buddy was so independent from an early age I would have to let him try himself before he would look for help.
    Judging by #BabyPink I forsee the same problems, she seems to be very strong willed.
    It is great you noticed where you were doing too much and took steps to improve.

    I agree that our role as parents is to guide our children, and help them find who they are. Not make them into mini versions of ourselves or someone we think they should be.

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  9. Great post with great tips. I think I’ll find it hard to step back and not hover. I’m hardwired to want to protect my tot from any hurt or disappointment. I know it’s important to let them learn how to deal with thing though. Love and will be borrowing ‘who needs friends like those’ lesson!

    #wineandboobs

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  10. Great tips there! It’s great how you are letting her become her own person, rather than directing her. I will have to use some of these on my son as he gets a bit older :). #wineandboobs

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  11. Wow, sounds like you are doing a grand job. I might try some of this when my daughter is old enough. I think what you are teaching her is really important. Not sure about the “I don’t need friends like you” retort though! That will be an interesting one to play out!

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  12. Such a good read for me right now. I too am trying to raise my little one to be an independent lady – she is only 2 but definitely has it in her she just needs a bit of the above encouragement #wineandboobs

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  13. That’s true Rod, our kids will develop into who they are meant to be. Their personalities are each so different! #wineandboobs

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  14. The Mother says – A lovely post and when I was reading this, it reminded me of all the things my Dad used to do for me as a girl but he does an awful lot for me now too. What a great relationship you have with your daughter πŸ™‚ #wineandboobs

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  15. What a fab post! My little girl is nearly three and since her little brother arrived she has now reverted back to acting like a baby at times, always wanting to sit on our laps at dinner and be fed for example. You have listed some great ways of gently coaxing her to become more independent again, thank you x

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  16. Great post Rod. I think as parents the majority of us hope to raise independent children. It’s of great importance for me as well. I sometimes feel sorry for my 3 year old because I have expected her to “become independent” a bit faster then I did her two close siblings. She potty trained with ease and now insists that she is a big girl and can do it herself. And she does. I don’t cater to my kids in anyway. I think some of society are raising a bunch of sissies…I hate to say it but I see so many parents that just dote on their kids and jump at every request and then wonder why they come home complaining of being bullied. Visiting from #snotallaboutyou. I will stop talking now lol.

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  17. Hard to let go isn’t it!My daughter has just turned 3 and only now is she starting to play without clinging to my leg.When you talked about kids not wanting to play with her that really got me as I hate it and want to take the hurt away but of course you can’t and they have to learn!Lovely post #snotallaboutyou

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  18. Aww how lovely. You are really listening to her. My oldest is 5 πŸ™ she is always running back to me whining because so and so wouldn’t play “her game”! We are working on this one. I ask “did you play her game?”, she used to say no but now she makes the effort and they still wont play her game. I am not sure what to do from here haha! I cant force the child to play her game. Anyway thanks for linking with #snotallaboutyou You are such a caring dad!

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  19. “I have come to realize that I cannot make her how I imagine her. I have to let her become who she is to become. I can only guide her and give her the strengths that will help her to become that person.” – Beautiful!

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  20. I really like this post! My daughter also isn’t great with independent play. I’ve noticed that even more after having #2 and always trying to get her to play on her own but she refuses! We have a water dispenser thing on the fridge and I have been meaning to teach her how to get her own water. Will continue working on the independent play and see where it gets us! #wineandboobs

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  21. Great Post! I love the idea of trying to have your daughter help you make her food, so that she will eat it. Will try this with my kids and see how it works! I do believe many parents are afraid to let their children be independent nowadays, and it is refreshing to see there are still people like yourself encouraging independence! Well done!

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  22. Interesting post this and it makes you realise just how different kids can be. My eldest is fairly independent but is more sensitive and needs more guidance than her younger sister who, if anything, is too indpendent! I like your approach and have picked up a few tips about handling my own kids. Thanks for hosting #WineandBoobs

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  23. What’s lovely about this post is how you identified the need for change with your daughter, a very unselfishly thing to do and sometimes the hardest because it’s easy to keep them close and to treat them as babies. Some lovely ideas and we also encourage them to get their own water, and help me make lunch. It does take longer but noses eaten and we get to do some bonding time together. Sounds like you’re a very proud daddy xx

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  24. What a beautiful post and some very wise words. Your kids are very lucky to have you as their father. You are doing such an amazing job. Thank you so much for linking up to #WellbeingWednesday

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  25. Getting them to be tough and independent when society tells them something completely different is hard. You sound like you;re doing a great job and some of your ideas I will be stealing. Thank you

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  26. I think independence is extremel important, particularly for girls, so it’s great that you’re helping your daughter to develop it. Sounds like you’re doing a great job.

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    • Thank you for your lovely comment πŸ™‚ I am trying as I want her to be strong and independent. I want her to feel strong enough to do anything and be anything she wants too. To feel if something is not working for her to do something about it. I want her to be strong!

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  27. (Tried to comment earlier, but I don’t know if it got swallowed up). Independence is so important, so it’s great that you’re helping your daughter to develop it. Sounds like you’re doing a great job.

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  28. Encouraging and teaching independence is great! Being self-sufficient at a young age will set your daughter up to be more in control of her life as she grows πŸ™‚

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  29. Fab post, lovely to read it a second time πŸ™‚ #wineandboobs

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  30. Great post. Our daughters sound quite similar! I have been doing a lot of the same things with her, especially as she will be starting preschool soon and needs to be more independent from me. Really good advice x Thanks for hosting #wineandboobs

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  31. Awesome post! I think sometimes birth order has something to do with which kids are independent and which ones aren’t. My oldest is very independent while my youngest is pretty needy. Working on that with him. That’s my goal this year, to make him more independent and take more responsibility. I love your quote. We parents are here to guide them and at some point that means, letting go. Thanks for sharing! Visiting from #wineandboobs (had to re-post this because it said session timed-out so hopefully you won’t get two of the same posts from me. LOL)

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  32. This has got me a little teary, for purely selfish reasons! As my daughter approaches 3 she now says “Mummy stop, I do it myself”, and that already breaks my heart, and I know that this is only going to continue. I may just start on the room tidying though…. that I could live with!

    #Sundaystars

    http://www.breedandwrite.co.uk

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