Parenting is a delicate dance. One of the hardest parts of parenting is knowing when to let your child struggle, in order to learn and grow, and when to intervene.

In this book, child development experts Wendy L. Moss, PhD, and Donald A. Moses, MD, examine the key skills parents need to help their kids emerge as confident, and capable adults.

This book will help parents will discover ways to build their child's confidence, decision making abilities, tolerance for frustration, patience, and self-sufficiency.

Lessons and examples based on the authors' professional experience illustrate how to teach skills such as self-monitoring, understanding social cues, using technology wisely, and recognizing opportunities for growth, even in life's more stressful moments.

True-to-life stories and conversation-starters demonstrate specific ways parents can empower children to think for themselves and learn to meet life's challenges head-on.

Table of Contents


  1. Raising Independent Children: Knowing When to Step in and When to Guide From Afar
  2. Confidence: How to Build the Skills (Not Just Bravado)
  3. Executive Functioning Skills: Teaching Your Child to Manage Tasks Large and Small
  4. Decision Making: Tips for Helping Your Child Make Healthy Choices
  5. Frustration Tolerance: Developing Your Child's Patience and Ability to Manage Obstacles
  6. Self-Monitoring: Teaching Your Child to Look Within
  7. Social Skills: Building Your Child's Social Competence
  8. Independent Technology Use: Teaching Children About the Risks and Benefits
  9. Raising Independent Children in Special Circumstances


Suggested Readings


About the Authors

Author Bios

Wendy L. Moss, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed clinical psychologist and a certified school psychologist. She has worked with children, tweens, teens, parents, and educators and has collaborated with other mental health colleagues. She has worked in school, hospital, clinic, residential treatment, and private practice settings.

Dr. Moss has counseled children as young as 3 and realizes that even such young children are capable of starting their journey toward independence.

Dr. Moss also teaches groups of children on a variety of topics ranging from social competence to mindfulness to becoming an "upstander."

Through her book Children Don't Come With an Instruction Manual: A Teacher's Guide to Problems That Affect Learners, Dr. Moss has helped teachers understand the behaviors and emotions of children in the classroom.

She has also authored or coauthored a variety of books for children (e.g., Being Me: A Kid's Guide to Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem; Bounce Back: How to Be a Resilient Kid; The Tween Book: A Growing-Up Guide for the Changing You [coauthored with Donald A. Moses, MD]; The Survival Guide for Kids With Physical Disabilities and Challenges [coauthored with Susan A. Taddonio, DPT]; School Made Easier: A Kid's Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools [coauthored with Robin A. DeLuca-Acconi, LCSW]; The Survival Guide for Kids in Special Education (and Their Parents): Understanding What Special Ed Is and How It Can Help You [coauthored with Denise M. Campbell, MS]).

In addition, Dr. Moss is a Diplomate in School Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology and has been appointed as a Fellow of the American Academy of School Psychology.

Donald A. Moses, MD, is a psychiatrist who specializes in the treatment of adolescents and young adults. He has many years of experience in treating patients with psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy, which has given him a clear understanding of the importance of children developing particular skills so that they later can be functional adults rather than resort to self-destructive behavior and difficulty functioning.

Dr. Moses has gained his experience while working in psychiatric hospitals, as a psychiatric consultant to adolescent substance abuse treatment programs, as a flight medical officer in the United States Air Force, and from many years in private practice.

His first book was Are You Driving Your Children to Drink? Coping With Teenage Alcohol and Drug Abuse (coauthored with Robert E. Burger). It highlights the essential need for parents to be there for their children, providing a sense of love and security throughout their childhood and teenage years.

More recently, Dr. Moses coauthored with Wendy L. Moss, PhD, The Tween Book: A Growing Up Guide for the Changing You.

He has lectured to high school and college students, has spoken with educators as well as with parent audiences, and has spoken on radio and television on the topic of parent–child relationships.

Reviews & Awards

Parents will discover ways to build their child’s confidence, decision making abilities, tolerance for frustration, patience, and self-sufficiency. Lessons and examples are soundly based on professional experience and illustrate how to teach skills such as self-monitoring, understanding social cues, using technology, and recognizing opportunities for growth, even in life’s more stressful moments.
Midwestern Book Review

Moss and Moses have written a unique and compelling book about how parental behavior may promote or discourage self-confidence and independence in children. They provide guidance on parenting that is grounded in theory and research, and encourage readers to reflect on the impact of their own parenting styles and actions. Many down-to-earth and humorous anecdotes vividly illustrate how to parent at each stage of development in order to raise independent, self-confident kids. I wish I had read this book when my children were young, but now I have a terrific resource to recommend.
—Stewart Lipner, PhD
Director of Psychological Services, The Zucker Hillside Hospital, Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and North Shore University Hospital/Manhasset, Glen Oaks, NY

Through questionnaires, examples of difficult parenting moments, and sound advice, Moss and Moses help readers consider their own style of parenting. They give clear recommendations about how best to meet the most essential challenge of parenting — raising independent, secure children.
—Amy Raphael, PhD
New York, NY

This book is bursting with practical advice and essential skill-building activities for raising confident children. It will go a long way to calm the anxieties of both new and seasoned parents. Moss and Moses skillfully illustrate how to help children navigate the winding path of successes and failures in a way that will ultimately lead to their independence.
— Robin A DeLuca-Acconi, LCSW, PhD
Certified School Social Worker, Adjunct Professor of Social Work, and coauthor of School Made Easier: A Kid's Guide to Study Strategies and Anxiety-Busting Tools

Timely and invaluable, this book is a must-read toolkit for raising confident and self-reliant children. As a parent, I recognized several strategies that worked for me in raising two happy and successful young adults — and a few I wish I had tried! As an educator, I applaud Moss and Moses for including an entire chapter on executive functioning skills. These skills, rather than intelligence or aptitude, are what set successful students apart. If your child is struggling — in school, or in life — this book could be the most important thing you read this year.
— Colonel (Retired) Albert M. Zaccor, MA
High School History and Civics Teacher, Bridport, VT