5 Tips for Raising an Independent Learner

Meet with teachers. Volunteer. Help with homework. Bake for the bake sale. Chaperone school trips.

Many of us have received the message that the more involved we are in our children’s learning, the better off they will be.  And sometimes, helping out is, well, helpful!  Other times, not so much.

A new large-scale study suggests that more-involved parents can sometimes be doing more harm than good. For example, once children enter middle school, help with homework can actually bring test scores down. Other involvement, such as meeting with teachers and taking disciplinary action against a child when they don’t do well, can make kids more anxious or have no positive effect at all.

According to independent focus groups, the most successful children are those whose parents set high expectations and then step back. These kids were able to take initiative in their own learning.

While being plugged into your child’s needs and supportive of their educational process is important, we may be going about it the wrong way. What can we do to help our children become independent learners? Check out these five simple strategies.

NEXT: Believe in Your Child


About the author

Dr. Robyn Silverman

Dr. Robyn Silverman is a child/teen development specialist, body image expert, sought-after speaker and award-winning writer. She graduated with her Ph.D. from Tufts University’s prestigious applied child/teen development program. She is known for her no-nonsense and positive approach to helping young people and their families thrive. Her ground-breaking research at Tufts University on young women is the foundation for her book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls & How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It (Harlequin Press).