Reply To: Independence for 9 year old

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Saying “he needs to be more independent” is a pretty broad statement. Do you know what specific things the teacher is suggesting that he do more independently? If not, that would be a good place to start:to get more information and find out exactly what actions the teacher would like to see. Once you know the specifics, then you could be open about your concerns and maybe as a team you, the teacher–and his therapist–could work together to come up with some ways he could take small incremental steps.

You asked what “pushing him to be more independent” would accomplish right now…the answer is that it depends but in general, the more the can do for himself, the better off he will be in the long run as an adult. So to the extent that you can ease him toward that step by step, the better off he will be. But it doesn’t have to be all at once. Here’s a swimming analogy to consider that hopefully will resonate: throwing someone in the deep end is not an effective way to teach them how to swim. But in order to eventually learn how to swim, they do have to venture away from the wall by themselves and sometimes, they will get water in their nose and flail around a little.

When you put more responsibility on him, he might struggle at first. It’s hard as a parent to watch our kids struggle, but it’s important to recognize that this is how they learn and grow.

Joyce Mabe
Parenting Coach, school counselor, mom of adult son with ADHD, author