How do we foster independence in our child?
We need to provide our children the practical skills that will enable them to be self-reliant and independent. And preparing our children to be happy, productive and contributing adults starts with us- how we model ourselves to them.
Lets start with our language- do we say things that reflect our faith in them? Do we become more focused on our own inability instead of what they are truly capable of doing, so much so that we find it difficult to have them handle a particular task successfully? What are some example of these phrases & how can we make it sound positive? ” That won’t work”- say “It’s worth a try”, ” You can’t do that by yourself”- say ” I can help you if you want”, ” You won’t be able to reach that”- say, ” Let me know if you will need help”.
How else can we foster independence? By providing him with the responsibility that goes with the task. For example, cleaning up after a project.
When you see your child capable of doing something and yet may seem reluctant to do so, encourage him/her with words of support & let him/her know that it’s perfectly okay to mess up . Stay focused on the positive things that went well with the task, even if he/she failed to successfully complete the task.
Children learn by doing a task rather than by observing it being done for them In her book ” Raising Everyday Heroes” by Elisa Medhus,MD,( http://books.simonandschuster.com/Raising-Everyday-Heroes/Elisa-Medhus/9781582700960) Dr. Medhus, talks about remaining to be the ever-supportive spectator, restraining ourselves from rescuing our child from a project by taking over. Instead, she recommends acknowledging our child’s feelings: ” I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time sweetie. I can see how—-could be so frustrating.In fact, I’m so amazed how far you gone in completing the project!” Then, you can offer a suggestion like taking a short break from the task and showing a different method after, to help her speed up things.
To help our child develop the skill, persistence and frustration tolerance, try to work on some of the projects together as soon as he is old enough to contribute.
Hold high expectations, but reasonable ones.Encourage your child to have his/her own healthy expectations for his/her performance.And please- express these expectations not as demands, but as loving messages of your faith in your child.
To your greatness,Mom!