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Building Self-Reliance

by Teresa, The CuteKid™ Staff


A person who leads a self-reliant living is able to think for himself. He trusts his own judgment and is in control of his life. The child who is self-reliant will be more active, independent, and competent. She will have the inner resources necessary to cope with situations on her own.

Building self-reliance within your child is a balancing act. If you donít give your child enough independence and freedom they will come to depend upon you for everything, be afraid to make decisions for themselves, and not be confident in their own ability. On the other hand if you let go to soon then your child may end up feeling insecure, not sure that they can trust you or themselves.

Start building self-reliance in your children while they are young. Allow and encourage them to do the things that they can do. Before she was two my youngest daughter would often take her clothes away from me and say, ďNo I do it.Ē She was asserting her independence and I allowed her to do it. As a result she felt confident and proud of her abilities. Some children take longer to develop their confidence. I often have to remind my older daughter that she can do things for herself. She would rather mom do it than try and fail. Yet when I encourage her to try again she usually succeeds.

When your children are a little older start teaching them about responsibility and help build a self-reliant living. Teach them how to budget, save, cook, clean, and do necessary household tasks. So that when the time comes that they are on their own they will know how to do everything they need to. Too often today young adults still depend on their parents for things they should be doing themselves.

Hold children accountable for the tasks that have been assigned to them. Whether that is household chores or school work. Children often rise to the occasion when they realize that if they donít complete a task it will not get done.

Allow children the opportunity to make choices. When they are young let them choose those things that they can like what to play, wear, or eat. Get them used to making choices and exercising their decision making process. As your child grows allow them the choice of playing sports, musical instruments, a dance class, or nothing at all. Donít force your child to be involved in something that doesnít interest them just because it is your dream.

Encourage your child to set goals and work to achieve them as practice to teach self-reliance. Remember they must be your childís goals and not yours. Allow your child to choose the type of classes that they want to take and the career path they want to follow. I read an article the other day about a college student and his parent that were talking to the studentís college advisor. The parent informed the advisor that his son needed to take math and science classes because his son was going to become a doctor. After the parent left the son told the advisor that he had no interest in becoming a doctor and preferred literature and art classes. The parent was so determined that his child be successful that he didnít give his son a chance to be self-reliant and choose for himself.

If your child wants to try something new donít hover or constantly give them instructions about how to do it right. Let your child try it on their own if they make a mistake they will learn from it and grow. When they do achieve they will feel confident and empowered.

Encourage your child to think for himself. If he has a problem donít rush to his aid. Tell him to think about it on his own and see if he can reach a solution. If not talk about it and guide him to the answer instead of telling him what to do. This way he will learn to think and reason for himself.

Do not make your approval conditional upon success. I will always remember being at one of my brotherís baseball games and hearing another father berating is son for striking out and ignoring the home run he scored earlier. Praise your child for their efforts. Because if they tried that is what matters.

We all want our children to become happy successful adults and one way we can help them along the way is to teach them to be self-reliant.