Encouraging Independence and Self-Reliance

The line between parental responsibility and coddling can sometimes get blurred. I am guilty of it.  I remember all too well how hard being a kid was for me. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing to do everything for children.

Take afterschool, for instance.  After a long day of learning, I find myself thinking poor baby, he needs a break. I used to find myself making and serving snacks, expecting my son’s every move to be determined by me. Not allowing him some autonomy was detrimental- the more I controlled, the more he started to believe himself incapable.

 

So I have come to appreciate the balance of doting on him (hugging and providing encouragement) while simultaneously allowing him the autonomy to practice responsibility.

 

There are a couple of ways my son has gained independence and self-reliance. By eliminating  the things I was doing that my child is more than capable of handling, I also allowed him to take responsibility for his own person:

 

-by finding his own snack and cleaning up after himself -by deciding when he will do any school work or projects -by choosing which chores in the home he will take on -by feeling the true consequences of his actions or lack thereof. Making mistakes is part of learning.

 

Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with doing things for my child, but I realize I have an obligation to allow him to flex his independent self-sufficiency skills so that he may grow to be a capable adult.

By setting up an expectation of independent routine, I create an environment that fosters that.

Article By Nuria Almeida

Photo By JeremyOK

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