Last night when I was running after my daughter to feed her dinner and trying to coax her to take “one last bite” (*rolls eyes), I paused to take a hard long look at my spirited, strong-willed & almost three-year old. Suddenly the thought occurred to me “Why?”. I am quite sure that she can eat by herself and has done so on many occasions. This also brought to my mind many other skills that my daughter should and could master but still hasn’t.
Why is it that my daughter is able to swiftly navigate an Ipad and browse games, apps, videos and even click a picture but when it comes to wearing her pullover she needs my help? I got to research and found some parenting fails that I was using which made my daughter more dependent on me than she should be. We all want to know how to parent to the best of our abilities and raise children who are responsible and independent adults but sometimes in the struggle between setting limits and helping our kids we might end up making them dependent on us.
Read on to find whether you are also making the same mistakes as me:
Taking the easy way out
Recall the first time your child held a spoon trying to feed herself some cereal, messy wasn’t it? But it is a critical life skill and we as parents have no business in denying the child a learning opportunity. I have often fed my daughter food just because I didn’t want to clean up after her. Some of us don’t let the children dress themselves because we feel it is going to take long and they might wear mismatched clothes or look shabby. But we must give them the freedom to choose and wear clothes by themselves as long as they are weather-appropriate. Just remember “Practice makes Perfect” so give more chances to practice their skills.
What if you are trying to teach your child how to dress himself and cloth him in a Jeans with buttons and zipper? Bad Idea!!! If you want the child to grasp a skill make a conducive environment for him, in this case use drawstring pyjamas.
Giving choices to a toddler is also a way to encourage independence without facing toddler tantrums. “Do you want to wear the pink jacket or the red coat” will give you a decisive answer rather than “Do you want to wear a coat? (the answer will be No-Take it from me)
Giving up too easily
How can you nurture Independence in a child? It is no secret that toddlers are great mimics so model the behavior that you would want them to repeat. For example do not lose your patience when your toddler is trying to master a new skill say tying the shoelaces. Never ever say “Oh forget it! You won’t be able to do it, I might as well do that for you”.
There is a fine line between Cultivating Independence and throwing challenges at your child. Always try to understand the abilities of your child both physical and mental before creating a task for them because otherwise you will create undue frustration for a child who wants to please his parents but is unable to do so. This will lead to a child with “Self esteem issues” rather than a “Can-do attitude”
If you are looking for some more details regarding raising an Independent child I found these suggestions
I am on my way to raise a “Can-do” Child, if you have some suggestions let us discuss them through the comments.