Everybody knows someone with parents who are a little too overprotective. Maybe you have a friend whose parents don’t let them go to sleepovers or do things on their own; maybe you are that friend. Every parent hopes to raise independent kids who are able to look after themselves as teenagers and adults, but strict parenting comes with a cost. How can kids be expected to mature without allowing them some independence during childhood?
There is a fine line between strictness and leniency, and extremes on either end can have negative effects on kids. A study conducted in 2015 by Makassar State University shows that parents who are positive and openly communicative with their kids are most likely to raise children who can be independent. It also shows that parents who are authoritarian or lack discipline are likely to raise kids who cannot be self-sufficient later in life. The study illustrates how being both too strict and too lenient negatively impact children.
There are also cultural differences when it comes to raising independent children. In Japan, for example, people are raised to be independent from a very young age. Japanese kids as young as 5 and 6 are expected to be able to, by themselves, get ready and take public transportation to school.
This early enforcement of independent thinking is almost unheard of in the United States. Many American parents would shudder at the thought of sending their kindergartener on public transportation alone. Even though this type of parenting may seem shocking to some, we can still learn a lot from this attitude toward independence. By allowing children to do things independently, parents are also giving them the freedom to learn how to make decisions for themselves early on, a skill that will be vital later in life.
Of course, there are differences between American and Japanese culture. That means we can’t emulate Japanese parenting exactly. Japan has a very low crime rate, more accessible public transport, and a different community feeling towards raising kids. Despite these cultural differences, we can still adopt certain aspects of Japanese parenting into American parenting, such as allowing young kids to be responsible for getting themselves ready for school in the morning.
Parenting is a very personal matter. The amount of freedom granted to kids is something that will differ from family to family, but a parenting style that encourages independence has, across the board, led to more self-sufficient adults, making it something to be considered by all parents. So, while you don’t have to push your kids out of the nest right away, allowing them a certain amount of independence can only help them in the long run.