It's a curious thing about having a self-reliant child: You love that he can take care of himself, and you hate that he doesn't need you. Having a child who doesn't require your attention 24/7 might sound pretty darn good to the parent whose child doesn't give her a moment to herself. But for some parents the thought of their child not needing them is just plain painful.
Self-reliance lives under the umbrella of independence. Truth be told, children are actually programmed to be independent. That one isn't so tough if we let it develop naturally. Moving away from you is part of their development. It is we parents who can encourage or thwart the development of independence. The same is true for self-reliance. Children who are independent can become self reliant. These children are self confident because they know how to think for themselves. They are often resourceful, competent, and spontaneous. Who doesn't want her child to be self reliant?
There are two essential lessons for parents to learn. The first is that you can set up specific areas in your child's life so that he can be self reliant. The second is that in order to cultivate self-reliance in your child, you need to back off. Parents who hover, now known as the helicopter parents, who involve themselves in much of their child's existence both at home and away, are unlikely to encourage the traits that that signal self-reliance. This child will certainly not get the message that you feel he is a capable and trust worthy person.
Here are a few tips for cultivating self-reliance in your children.
These are just a few of the tips that encourage your child to be self reliant. For an expanded discussion and many more tips on the topic, see You're Not the Boss of Me.
This article was originally published in 2010.
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