Teach your child to be self-reliant

Overly dependent children? Inculcate in your children the value of self-reliance and independence which can be found in this article.

“My son is still very dependent on me. He’s already 20 years old yet he just watches television whenever he’s at home. He doesn’t even help in doing the household chores,” my mother cried in protest when she came to visit our home. This is definitely a concrete example of a dependent attitude even in a young adult. Of course, I pity my mother, but I have mixed emotions for my youngest brother. He should already be working and providing for himself at his age, and yet he still depends on my mother.

As I am also a mother, questions came to my mind with regards to this attitudinal issue of children.

Why is this happening? Is it the parents’ fault that a child becomes so dependent on them or on others even when they have already grown-up? I don’t want end up having a very dependent child. Instead, I want my children to be independent even at an early age, just like I have always been. I want them to have self-reliance so they can stand on their own and survive in this world of harsh realities.

Since I was taught to be self-reliant by experience, I try to inculcate in my children the value of self-reliance and independence.  Here are some of my learning points:

1. Start teaching self-reliance and independence at an early age.

Be keen enough to sense whether your kids are old enough to understand the value of self-reliance. This should probably start during the late infancy stage when the child seems to show some degree of independence. For instance, if you see that your child wants to reach for a toy and he or she is determined to get it, don’t hand it over right away. Allow him or her to exhaust all his or her capacity to reach for that toy. If he or she wishes to stand up and walk, allow your child to do so. The main point is to be there to support and to be their crutch, not their feet.

2. Know the developmental milestones of your kid’s age.

This is the best way for you to fully guide your kids in their growth and development. Parents should be aware of the milestones that kids are undergoing so that they can assist them towards the realisation of their potentials. For instance, when you wish for your child to develop rapidly in his or her language development, then you should talk to your child often to assist such development.

3. Train your child to make decisions.

Parents tend to be very over protective towards their children which does not allow the child to become more responsible and self-reliant. This is not supposed to be done. Allow your child to live as a child. There are things you need to allow them to do, like playing with children. This will allow them to develop the interpersonal dimension of their lives. It will also teach them important lessons like decision-making, that you can’t teach by preaching. But this does not mean that parents will allow the child to do everything he or she wishes, just the ones which you feel will help them become more independent.

4. Assign your child a task he or she can handle or accomplish.

My 2-year-old child can hand over a hand phone, pick up a piece of paper and throw it in the garbage bin and pick toys on the floor and place it inside the toy box when instructed. We give her tasks and responsibilities based on her capacity and potential. If the task is greater than the thing she can accomplish, this may lead to having a negative self-image. Moreover, I can sense that my two kids are happy if we allow them to do the tasks they wish to do especially if they see that we recognise and appreciate their efforts.

Training up your child to become self-reliant isn’t all that easy and quick. It takes time. Most of all, it takes patience. But in time, you will reap the reward, that is- your child becoming independent and self-reliant.

Source: The Asian Parent Singapore

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