Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Teaching Your Child Self-Reliance

This month (May issue) Parenting 1-2-3 columnist Dr. Robyn Silverman launches the first in an ongoing series of articles in Bay State Parent magazine on teaching your child self-reliance. (Coming in July: Teaching Your Child How to Pack His Own Bag/Suitcase for a Summer Vacation.)

By Dr. Robyn Silverman
"I hate to see her struggle like that."
"I'll just do it for him this one time."
"We're in a rush so…"

It's just one of those things, isn't it?
We all do it every once in a while. Maybe it's because it's easier, faster, or better if we do it for them. A little more time. A little less frustration. Maybe it's just because we love them so much. So sometimes, we make their beds, tie their shoes, pack their bags, prepare their lunches, wipe their faces, and do their chores for them, even when we know that they can do it by themselves.
But our choices can backfire. They can make children overly dependant on others and rob them of the opportunities to challenge themselves and build self confidence in their own abilities.
With the term "helicopter parents" (used to describe overprotective parents who hover too closely and help too readily whether their children need their assistance or not) infused into everyday vernacular, Moms and Dads are trying to stay clear of the label.
It can be challenging for parents to know when to let their child fly solo and when (and if) they should assist or take over.
In our hearts, we know that it's developmentally fitting for children to become more self reliant as they age.
The most powerful parents aim to strike a balance between allowing their children to do tasks on their own and helping them when they really need it. This balance allows their children to thrive because they feel more confident in themselves while still feeling supported and properly mentored.
When it comes time to teach self reliance to children, Dr. Robyn has 10 tips. To read them, pick up a copy of the May issue or read her column at Bay State Parent magazine's Web site at http://www.baystateparent.com/news/2008/0501/articles/028.html

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