Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Introduction of being independent

Independence can be a very personal thing! You must decide how to be independent and what independence means to you. It doesn’t mean you will leave alone and it’s not just about where you live. Independence includes good decision-making skills and learning about the areas in your life where you can take charge!

Understanding Interdependence

Independence doesn’t mean you have to be alone and make decisions by yourself. Something that’s really important to know is this:
We are all INTER-dependent. What does that mean? It means no one has to be on their own without any help or support. Our ultimate goal should be interdependence. That means having the drive to tackle our goals alone, but also having the wisdom to ask for helps when we need it.
We all need some support from friends and family to get to where we are going, to reach our goals, and to get a little help when we’ve dug ourselves into a hole! So you can be independent and interdependent at the same time. Hey, a support system is one thing that makes being independent a lot easier.
Interdependence ultimately means that:
  • You can be independent and still ask for help.
  • You can be independent and still have someone support you to make decisions.
  • You can be independent and still rely on others to see you through a tough time.
  • You can be independent and still share your good times, good fortune, and important events with friends, family, and others.

Knowing it's Important

Most of us want to be more independent some day. Just about every teen at The Youth hood has talked about moving out by there own and having their own place. But one thing we’ve learned is that we set choices so that we can choose among what is good for us.
Having a safe, comfortable, and convenient place to live makes life easier, like finding a good job, making friends, and having involvement in your community. Understanding all these things that we go into living independently is the key.

Making Decisions

There are a lot of decisions you have to make if you want to be independent. That means you have to think about and explore a lot of ideas -- things like where to live, whether or not to live with someone else, whether or not your job can support you. It’s easy to take this stuff for granted when you’re growing up and your parents take care of things. But becoming independent means you have to start making decisions about these things. So you have to start learning skills for good decision-making. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
But how do you learn to make good decisions? There are lots of ways to make decisions:
  • You can guess and hope you are right (not good).
  • You can ask someone else and then do what they say (Now, why would you want to do that?).
  • You can ask for advice from a bunch of different people and then try to pick the answer that sounds right (getting a little better).
  • You can talk it over with someone you trust (good idea).
  • You can practice with decisions that aren’t too important so you can start to feel more confident (great idea).
  • You can talk it over with someone, list the ideas that sound the best, do some role playing, then pick the best solution based on your information gathering (okay, this sounds excellent).
  • You can just sit there and let the world pass you by and let others make all the decisions for you (if you picked this answer, we have some serious work ahead of us).

Having a Disability

So you have a disability? That doesn’t mean you can’t live independently or be independent in other areas of your life. Many young adults with disabilities choose their own apartments. Some young adults are even buying houses, townhouses, or condominiums because they planned ahead!
At The Youth hood, lots of teens with disabilities live independently in their own places by themselves or with roommates. Some live independently but are still at home with their families.
Being independent isn’t easy. You need to work hard to make things happen. If you plan ahead, get help with your planning, and make sure you have a plan for the support you need, you can make it happen!

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