Building Self Reliant Kids

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Building Self Reliant Kids

 

One of the most important character qualities to have, and also one of the most frustrating to teach is self reliance.  I have many parents telling me how frustrated they get with their children because they aren’t more self reliant.  I have a secret, the problem isn't with the kids.  It’s with you.

Coming from experience (as a mom and as a bit of a control freak) the real problem is that we don’t give them the opportunity.  Right now you’re thinking, “I give them the chance all of the time”.  But how many times have your kids tried to do something on their own, and instead of letting them finish the task, you take over, because they aren’t doing it right (or your way), or because it’s taking too long, etc.

In order for them to learn to trust in themselves, they have to know that you trust them.

In order for them to learn to trust in themselves, they have to know that you trust them.  They have to know that it’s ok to make mistakes, and that they don't have to be perfect.  Let them try and fail, and then try again.  Communication is crucial to the learning process.  Turn their “failures” into teachable moments with your kids.  This is an opportunity to show them how to learn from their mistakes.  Explain that true failure only happens if they give up.

Finally, understand that this is an ongoing process.  It starts off with simple stuff when they are little, learning to tie their shoes, pick out their own clothes (don’t freak out when they don’t match), and getting ready for bed.  As they get older, it gets more complicated for the both of you.  The really hard part, as a parent, is worrying about the choices they will make, versus their abilities to handle the consequences of those choices.

Remember, much of your child’s ability to be self reliant, initially comes from the trust and confidence you place in them!  Consistently give them opportunities to earn that trust and confidence.  Repetition is the mother of all learning.  Giving them small opportunities now allows them to accomplish greatness in the future!