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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Teaching Your Children to be Independent, Self Reliant and Responsible

By Andrew Loh

More often, parents carry the burden of over protecting their children without understanding the negative consequences. Just because we love our children so much, we cannot shield them forever under a protective umbrella, because they will have to stand on their own feet sometime in the near future. A child, who knows, acknowledges and accepts responsibility may do extremely well in both school and in life. A child who learns to be independent can be a source of joy for parents too. This article series attempts to inform parents about different ways that can build this amazing ability in their children's life. Before learning how we can make our children independent, we may want to know different advantages of someone being independent.

Independent children possess higher levels of self-confidence

Children, who are self-reliant and independent, can do a lot in their life both for themselves, and for others without seeking extra help from adults. Independent children could offer their solutions and methods to solve problems on their own and face challenges as and when they come up. With a solid set of strategies and techniques, they can stand on their own and take suitable actions. In other words, self-reliant and independent children, may kick start a process that leads to inculcation of self-esteem and confidence.

Independent children can easily co-operate with others and help them

Co-operation is a natural act and independent children usually possess this character. The act of co-operation is an automatic phenomenon. Here is an example of the relationship between co-operation and the character of being independent:

  • Most children do what their parents ask them to do.

  • When parents tell children to do something on a regular basis, and day after day, children are most likely to follow instructions unconsciously.

  • This leads to a situation, when children start following the said routine even before their parents give them instruction.

Independent children can develop better and productive skills

Children, who are self-reliant and independent, are more likely to develop many other skills that are academic and social in nature. In fact, they can easily perform many more additional tasks that could be difficult and challenging. For example, communication and organization skills are the two skills that could enhance a child's ability to lead a better life.

Parents could live a calmer and relaxed life

Parents can lead a better and relaxed life, when they help their children learn and lead an independent life. When you train children, who can carry out daily tasks/routines on their own, you will have extra time to pursue your forgotten hobbies/ goals and achieve them as quickly as possible.

What are the obstacles and problems?

Parents may need to be patient

Parents may never display a level of patience that is required to handle their children especially, when they perform some common tasks or carry out daily routines. Parents may also lose their patience very quickly, when children fail to do their work. If you want to teach your children to become independent, you should be capable of showing them how one could become independent to lead his or her daily life.

Parents usually underestimate their children's capabilities

Many parents are notorious for over protecting their children, because they do not believe in their children's abilities and strengths. This attitude may spoil their children and make them over-reliant and extra dependent on their parents. Another reason could be parents' belief that children will feel bad, when they ask them to do their own work and tasks.

Parents simply love their children and always like to work for them

Concerned with extra care, love and affection, many parents simply forget that they could create children, who are incapable of performing their own tasks, if they go on doing work for them. Parents should try to know the future consequences of not allowing their children to become self-reliant and independent.

Unnecessary sheltering and over protecting would have their own consequences that are always counterproductive and negative. It is right time for parents to help their children to stand up on their legs and lead an independent life.

Here are some simple steps to make your children independent:

Ensure children their own “free time for me” opportunity

Allow little freedom to your children, so that they can introspect and evaluate about their future life. Ask them to carry out some tasks that do not need your help and time. When you allow sufficient freedom for your children to carry out self-introspection, they will understand importance of leading an independent life.

Ask children to work on small projects

Assign some simple projects that do not need your assistance. Tell them in detail about goals and objectives tied with those projects and ask them to work on them to reach goalposts. Set a timeline and help them only when it is necessary.

Failure is a gradual process to future success

Failure is a great teacher. It can help children learn many things. Frequent failures will make children determined and focused. They will also help them learn how to be independent, so that they can solve problems without your help. Explain them why they should not worry too much about failure, and assure them that they can solve any problems by using their own intellect and decisions.

Allow children to act independently to choose their options

Give children numerous options to make their own decisions. Let them choose what they want although with some riders and conditions. For example, give them options in the following manner:

  • “Would you complete your homework now or finish that project work?”

  • “Would you like to work with me in garden or would you like to arrange your room?”

Seek help from children to finish household chore

Make it compulsory for children to help you in finishing common household chore. It can relate to cleaning kitchen or dining table. It could even be helping in cooking food. Sometimes, you can ask them to help you clean the entire house.

The greatest thing that you can do to children is to help them become independent. In the next article in this series, let us know and understand numerous methods to overcome obstacles and in what manner parents could teach and train their children to become independent and self-reliant. Continue to read Teach Your Children to be Independent - Methods and Techniques


Child Development

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