An issue that frequently arises when dealing with children or teens is how much independence do they have? There are laws in some states in Australia which stipulate the minus age that a child may be left on their own, but in this article I’m no so interested in the legalities as I want to emphasise the importance of allowing children to develop independence.

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When we look at any articles on entrepreneurs one factor that always comes up is the important of risk taking. This is not only true of entrepreneurs but in everyday life, it is important to take on new ideas, to tackle new projects and to go outside of your ‘comfort zone’. Children who have not been allowed independence when they were growing up find it more difficult to adapt to new situations and to take risks.

One thing always come out in any conversation with parents, and that is that they nearly always had more independence as children than they allow their own children. Usually, this is explained by saying that the world is a more dangerous place now. Actually, the world is, in most circumstances, safer than a generation ago and also children can be given mobile phones.

One of the problems we often see is that if the parent is anxious then this is passed on to the children, and they imagine dangers where they don’t really exist. However, it is prudent to teach your children how to deal with dangers from an early age.

  • Give them a mobile phone – preferably a non-smart phone and program in the home number, an emergency number and maybe the number of friend. Show them how to call and what to say
  • Teach your child basic self defence. If they can do a martial art that is better but in any case show them how to scream, bite, kick etc. Role play.
  • Give your child a safety word in case someone else needs to pick them up from school. If the adult doesn’t know this word, the child mustn’t go with them.
  • Emphasise that these probably won’t need to be used. Don’t install a sense of unnecessary danger.