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Parents think kids should be given independence at this age

"Learning to balance our need to keep our kids safe with the equally important need of letting them challenge themselves, try new things and slowly experience independence is key.”

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(Photo by Vlada Karpovich via Pexels)

By Astrid Cooper, 72Point via SWNS

Parents think kids should be given independence from the age of 12, by being able to choose their own haircut, get a cell phone – and remember to do their own homework.

A poll of 750 parents and their children, aged 6-16, found moms and dads see their youngsters being able to use public transport alone and being allowed to go to sleepovers or spend nights away from home as signs of growing up.

But the biggest signs, they say, are walking to school without a parent or guardian (21 percent) and expressing their own opinions (21 percent).

When it comes to kids developing their own financial freedom, top signs included their child choosing how they spend and save (29 percent), having a spending card instead of cash (25 percent), and getting a part-time job (25 percent).

But with another school year approaching and many youngsters set to start secondary school, 16 percent of parents facing this are worried about letting go and giving them more freedom.

“Money is such an important part of our lives as adults, so it’s essential families are empowered to help kids get to grips with it early," said Will Carmichael, CEO of NatWest Rooster Money, which commissioned the research.

“And clearly parents are on board with that, with 37 percent wanting to play an active role in helping their children develop their sense of independence.

“Our survey has also shown that creating the right framework to empower kids to get the level of freedom they want, whilst giving parents the reassurance they need, is really important - especially when it comes to these inflection points in a child’s (and parent’s!) life."

The study also found 20 percent of parents whose child is reaching their secondary school years are anxious about them walking to school alone, although almost the same number (21 percent) consider this to be an indicator of their freedom.

The other biggest anxieties were around relinquishing control, with 21 percent concerned about their child handling their own money at school.

A further 20 percent are hung up on who kids make friends with, and 19 percent worry their child’s friends could influence them to buy things they aren’t comfortable with.

It also emerged 21 percent of children approaching their next stage of schooling are most looking forward to more freedom when they get to this point.

But 24 percent of parents say they aren’t ready for their little one to be more independent, while 37 percent are still looking forward to helping their youngster grow up rather than letting go.

The research also found 46 percent reckon today’s kids are becoming independent at a much younger age.

Of those, 38 percent think it’s because they have access to more knowledge through the internet and social media.

While 36 percent put it down to moms and dads having more open and honest conversations with their offspring.

Of the parents who have a 13-16 year old, 46 percent have given their youngster even more monetary independence by allowing them to have a part-time job.

Yet well under half (39 percent) of those in this group think their kids understand the value of money.

Although three in four parents currently give their child some form of pocket money – whether earned or not – at an average of £17 ($19) a month.

The research, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed the things parents would be happy for their kids to spend their money on without asking, including books (31 percent), clothes (21 percent) and even sweet treats (22 percent).

Which is good news for youngsters, as 23 per ent would like to splash their cash on clothes without checking with mom or dad initially, as well as purchasing sweets without asking first (23 percent).

It also emerged three in 10 six to 16-year-olds think they understand the value of money, compared to 36 percent of parents that would say the same about their children.

“Parenting can be one of the most rewarding and challenging life experiences and one of the most fundamental aspects of parenting is to help kids become self-sufficient," said Dr. Linda Papadopoulos, a leading child behavioral psychologist.

“That transition from depending on you completely to being able to make choices and decisions that feed into their emotional, physical and practical wellbeing is fundamental for their confidence and healthy development.

“As such, learning to balance our need to keep our kids safe with the equally important need of letting them challenge themselves, try new things and slowly experience independence is key.”

Top 20 Things That Would Make Parents Feel Their Child is Being More Independent:

  1. Expressing their opinion on things
  2. Walking to school without a parent/ guardian
  3. Managing how they spend and save their money
  4. Getting a part-time job
  5. Getting ready for school themselves
  6. Having their own interests they want to pursue
  7. Going into a shop alone to buy and/or pay for something
  8. Being responsible for remembering to do homework
  9. Getting public transport without a parent/ guardian
  10. Spending more time with their friends and less time with me
  11. Choosing their own outfits
  12. Getting a mobile phone
  13. Choosing what they spend their pocket money on without asking
  14. Having chores
  15. Being allowed to go on sleepovers/stay the night away from home
  16. Making their own meals
  17. Cooking a meal by themselves
  18. Opening a bank account/spending account
  19. Having a bank/spending card instead of using cash
  20. Resolving their own conflicts

Top 10 Things That Would Make Children Feel More Independent:

  1. Walking to school without a parent/ guardian
  2. Getting public transport without a parent/ guardian
  3. Joining social media / having my own social media accounts
  4. Having chores
  5. Having a boyfriend or girlfriend
  6. Making my own lunches
  7. Being left at home alone
  8. Being allowed to go on sleepovers/stay the night away from home
  9. Getting ready for school myself (e.g. packing my own bag, lunch etc.)
  10. Being responsible for remembering to do my homework

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