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Declaration of Personal Independence

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Mother Gothel: No no, it's all right, listen to me, all of this is as it should be.
Rapunzel: No. You were wrong about the world, and you were wrong about me, and I will never let you use my hair again!

Sheltering parents and guardians, or overprotective siblings tend to think of their children or younger siblings as babies who need protecting, even when She's All Grown Up.

Cue son or daughter wanting to strike out on their own, making their own mistakes and facing life head-on, the trials and troubles included. Their child doesn't want to be coddled anymore, and there is going to be tension in the family until they can finally prove it to their guardian figure. Often this means some rebelling in some way, but instead of dying her hair green, going out with that guy her father hates and wearing biker gear, daddy's little girl is entering a marathon even though she's in a wheelchair, following in her mother's footsteps as a race car driver despite the fact her mother died in a race, or running off on a Hero's Journey and probably saving the world while she's at it.


This is a Plot Trope. There may be some overlap with Inspirationally Disadvantaged. This is also sort of the inverse of You Are Better Than You Think You Are, in which other people assuring the character they are strong, rather than the character assuring others they are strong. Somewhat related to Don't You Dare Pity Me!. May involve an Anti-Smother Love Talk at some point.

The story of the The Prodigal Son makes this Older Than Feudalism, though in the Prodigal Son's case he really couldn't stand on his own very well.

Compare Obsolete Mentor, where this applies to a student deciding they no longer need their mentor, preferring to use newer techniques.

No, this has nothing to do with that document about some colonies declaring their sovereignty and independence from The British Empire.



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     Anime and Manga 
  • Vivio from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. When Nanoha and Fate first adopt her, Nanoha is all about letting her stand on her own - literally, saying that they should let her get to her feet on her own when she trips while running towards them. Fate, on the other hand, instantly runs to her side to help her up. In the finale, after Nanoha defeats a possessed Vivio by unleashing her most powerful attack directly at her, leaving Vivio in a crater, she's just about to run to help her up... when Vivio stops her, insisting that "I can stand up myself." And she does. And it is awesome.

    Comic Books 
  • Many, many times Supergirl has told her tremendously overprotective cousin that she can't learn from her mistakes unless he stops babying her, and she needs to stand on her own:
    • In Superman/Batman #19:
      Supergirl: Thanks. I'm sure there were a few times, particularly out there on the street, when you wanted to fly in— but you let me handle it. It's the only way I'm going to learn, Kal.
    • Later, in Action Comics #850:
      Supergirl: And next time, let me fight my own battles. I could've taken her, if you hadn't come in all Papa Bear at her. I swear, you treat me like a four-year-old...
    • In Supergirl (2005) issue #22, he's finally gotten the message:
      Superman: Look, a lot has happened in the last few days, and I need to tell you—
      Supergirl: You know something, Kal? I've been dreading this talk for days.
      Superman: Kara—
      Supergirl: No, listen to me. I have to say: I know you love me, and that's why you feel a need to act like my big brother or my dad— but you're neither one! I'm capable of recognizing my own mistakes, Kal! I don't need my nose rubbed in them! Maybe I'm not perfect like you—
      Superman: Hey, I'm not—
      Supergirl: Maybe I need to learn things the hard way. But I am learning! I want to be a family with you and uncle Jon and aunt Martha, but I don't need your... validation! I can get by on my own terms, and I'm doing fine, and—
      Superman: I know.

     Films — Animation 
  • Finding Nemo, in which Nemo tries to prove to his Overprotective Dad Marlin that he doesn't need to baby him, even though Nemo was born with a gimpy fin. He eventually does.
  • Somewhat the case in Tangled - Mother Gothel underestimates Rapunzel's maturity and capability to take on the world very much - or it seems that way, as she's just trying to put Rapunzel down so that she can have her magic youth-restoring hair to herself.

     Films — Live-Action 
  • The 2005 Lindsay Lohan movie Herbie: Fully Loaded, in which her character demanded that she be allowed to race like the rest of her family.
  • In Cool Runnings, Junior finally stands up to his domineering father when he comes to try and take him home to Jamaica.
    Junior: No, no, no, no you don't know what's best for me, Father! I am not a lost little boy, Father! I am a man, and I'm an Olympian! I'm staying right here.

  • The Dixie Chicks song "Wide Open Spaces", and numerous other songs where the young person needs to "stand on their own" for the first time. Subverted in "Johnny Don't Take Your Gun To Town," where it turns out the kid wasn't ready to go out alone after all.
  • Eddie from Ohio's "Fifth of July" uses the actual Declaration of Independence as a metaphor for several speakers in the same household (a recent college grad and their dog and goldfish) contemplating whether to run away and start their own lives outside of it— "We're now on our own for the first of our lives, on the Fifth of July... now what?"

  • Hairspray: "Mama, I'm A Big Girl Now" is an entire musical number dedicated to this trope.

     Video Games 
  • Pokémon Black and White has Bianca, a Plucky Girl who is The Ditz. Her father initially wouldn't let her go on a Pokemon Journey, and she ran away from home. In Nimbasa City, you come upon him having found Bianca, and demanding she return home, but finally he relents, after she tells him how much stronger she's grown since battling with her Pokemon.

     Web Comics 

     Western Animation 
  • The blind Toph from Avatar: The Last Airbender, who also happens to be a badass Earthbending genius who invented metalbending. Her father treats her like she's helpless, even though she's probably one of the strongest people in the world and perfectly capable of taking care of herself. When Aang and the gang show up, asking to teach him earth-bending and join on his journey, she tries to convince her father to let her, but she ends up having to run away when he refuses to believe it, even after seeing her wipe the floor with some mooks. He even sends people after her to get her back. It doesn't work. The series ends without any resolution in regards to whether they made up or not.
    • The comics do clear this up: she reconciles with her father when she's holding up a cavern from caving in on the group, and her father genuinely admits that his actions drove her away and that his marriage failed because her mother blamed him for Toph leaving. He believes these to be his Last Words, but Toph states that if he really did believe in her, he wouldn't assume they were going to die, because she's too good an Earthbender to let that happen.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Somepony to Watch Over Me", when Applejack suddenly develops an overwhelming case of Big Sister Instinct, her little sister Apple Bloom rebels against it. She tries to deliver a cart of apple pies, to prove that she's capable of taking care of herself. But the delivery route winds up being more dangerous than Apple Bloom thought, and Applejack has to rescue her from a hungry chimera. At the end the two sisters both learn a lesson: AB realizes she isn't quite as independent as she thought, and AJ admits that trying to coddle her sister was doing more harm than good.
  • Steven Universe: In "Nightmare Hospital", Connie blows up at her mother, Dr. Maheshwaran, after she claims to know everything about Connie and assumes Connie isn't a "sword-fighting hooligan". Connie points out that Dr. Maheshwaran doesn't know everything (she never noticed Connie's glasses had the lenses popped out), that Connie can take care of herself (she proves it by effortlessly dispatching the cluster gem mutants attacking them), and that she doesn't feel like she can tell her mother what's going on because she'll ban anything that poses even the slightest threat, including her relationship with Steven. Fortunately, Dr. Maheshwaran gets the message.


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