Hi OSSS readers, it’s Heather here again from Family Volley.
There has been a lot in the media lately about different parenting styles. Specifically helicopter parenting vs. free range parenting. The differences between the two can be a discussion for another time as there are very strong opinions one way or the other. Regardless of the differences, we should all be able to agree on one thing, the need to teach children to be self-reliant. Our parenting style has a huge affect on our children’s ability to take care of themselves. Here are three tips for encouraging our children to be self-reliant.
Allow negotiation. This is a very valuable tool for our children to practice. We need to talk about rules together, let them plead their case, and be open to their suggestions and opinions. I specifically remember when our son was 8 and asked if we could all talk. As we sat down, he expressed to us that he felt he needed a later bed time. Although I completely disagreed, we let him plead his case and talked through it together. We found a time that we were both comfortable with. Our children need to learn to stand up for their opinions and what they think is good for their lives also. Be open to listening.
Allow failure. Too often as parents we push an idea of perfectionism onto our children, making them believe they are not good enough if they fail. It is important that we allow children to fail at things in order to teach them that it is a natural part of the learning process. When our children fail, don’t make them feel bad, and encourage them to try again when they are ready. Just like learning to ride a bike. We fall off our bike as we are learning. It is a natural part of the process. As parents, we don’t tell our child to quit, we pick them up, give them a hug and stand by them as they try again, and again, and again. And, when our children succeed, teach them to be humble. Teach them success comes from trying, even when you’re afraid you’ll fail.
Don’t give out all the answers. As parents, we can be quick to give our children answers without giving them the opportunity to find the answers for themselves. In the long run, an answer that comes from a parent can be argued. An answer that our children obtain themselves becomes a part of the child, which makes it a lot harder for them to dispute. I remember being young and asking my dad how to spell a word while doing homework. He would NEVER tell me how to spell it. Instead suggesting I grab the dictionary and look it up. As simple as that sounds, it taught me a powerful lesson as I literally had to find the answers for myself. It is more important to teach our children how to find than answers, than it is to give them the answers
Changing a few small things in the way we parent can do wonders for helping our children be more self-reliant. Give it a try. It will make for a happier home now, and happy young adults as our children grow.
For more parenting tips, check these out: