Raising Self Reliant Children
Being a parent is tough. We seldom get any feedback on how we are doing as a parent. Invariably, we look towards the reactions of our children for validation. We tend to equate our performance with their happiness quotient. That's where we sometimes go wrong.
Yes, our kids need to know that we love them. However, they should also understand that the objective of parenting goes beyond the temporary smiles and just making them happy. We want our kids to be competent, develop their voice, and have the courage to give a difficult task one more attempt.
Here are a few tips on how to raise self-reliant children.
1. Adopt Autonomy-Supportive Parenting Style
Analyse your daily actions. Are you giving rise to more dependency or rendering more power to make decisions? We are not asking you to hand over the entire reins, but we as parents can undoubtedly refrain from dictating the small hows, whens and whys.
Autonomy-Supportive parenting aims at giving space to the child to perform while keeping a quiet watch on them. Such children are more likely to accomplish tasks in the absence of their parents. On the other hand, children of controlling parents tend to get frustrated quickly and give up without the presence of a parent to offer directions.
2. Welcome Household Contributions
Rephrase household chores as household contributions. The difference in framing the terminology can have a significant impact on a child's psyche. It motivates kids to offer their unique contribution towards family operations. It furnishes a more substantial opportunity for children to express themselves freely. After all, adults and children in unison deserve to be creative contributors in their homes and society.
Instead of giving direct instructions to carry out house chores, rephrase by merely saying, "I need you to help me with something." You will be surprised how happy they will be to contribute towards the household duties.
3. Share Your Failure Stories
Children look up to their parents with a sense of security and imagine them to be stable and determined at all junctures in life. It is vital to project self- assuredness but also let them know that we learnt from our failures.
Allow your setbacks, mistakes, and failures to be a part of family conversations. We all go through failures but how we deal with them is crucial. Parents need to model their setbacks so that kids utilise adult experiences to the best of their advantage.
4. Step Back and Offer Guidance
Most of us are guilty of overprotecting our children. Remember every time you save your child from a challenge; you are unconsciously sending across the message that you think she is incapable of your trust.
Avoid your instinct of taking over and finishing a task for your child. Instead, step back and merely offer productive guidance on how to accomplish the task. You will see a new level of confidence and pride on your precious one's face after the job is complete.
5. Teach Organisational Skills
Learning to follow a schedule and organising tasks is an essential skill. It helps kids to manage their life well. Avoid organising things like keeping his library book back into the school bag or setting books as per the next day's timetable.
Instead, enquire how you can help to improve his organisational skills. Once your child knows that you will not be the rescuer, gradually he will commence relying less on you and become more responsible.
6. Always Offer Appreciation
During the journey of training your children to be self-reliant, never criticise them because you feel they could have done a better job. Direct your efforts towards encouraging independent behaviour; and perfection will fall in later with practice.
Use positive language such as "It's lovely that you tied your laces yourself today." Alternatively, "Your room looks fabulous because you cleaned it so well!"
Our children need to understand that we love them even if we decide not to intervene and save them from falling. Remember, it's about the long-term, bigger picture! Our task is not to eliminate their pain but to teach them how to cope with life's inevitable negativities and live a satisfying life in the face of failures.
You cannot make your child self-reliant overnight. It's a long, gradual process that can take months or even years. However, you can make the journey simpler by just being there.