Thursday, March 6, 2014

Helping Your Child Become Self Reliant

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One of the biggest debates among parents and various parenting channels has been the confusion about parents learning when to get in and when to back off.

We all know about parents who are always hovering over their kids, deciding their every move, telling them what they should or shouldn't do, setting up rules and routines that have no flexibility, forcing young children to participate and excel in activities they have no interest in, but should purely be a part of as, according to the parent(s), 'it is good for their own development and future.'

We have all seen such parents, such parents do exist. And then again, there are parents who are constantly bullied by their own children, giving in to those instant tears, falling down on their knees, adhering to their child's every whim and fancy.

As a parent, one of your first priority, if you really want to do what is best for your child, is to understand how to help your child become self-reliant. A self-reliant child not only understands situations and surroundings much better than a child who is spoon-fed, but will also be able to take smarter and more mature decisions and be practical and calm in situations that require mental strength.

It is of course a challenging task to achieve as a parent, but if you do manage to do that, rest assured, your child will be sorted for life, and will be secure in a future where he or she will have the confidence to face any situation in the best possible way.

Here are a few practical and easy ways by which you can help your child become self-reliant:

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1. Support and encourage:

No matter what the situation, make sure you are always a source of support and encouragement for your child. For children who are shy and introverted, it can be a daunting experience to be suddenly thrown in an environment that needs them to be participative and vocal in front of strangers or a crowd. Be around, let your child know that you are there, that no matter how your child fares, you are fine with it.

Do not give the impression that unless your child does really well, you will be angry and disappointed. This can make the child feel unloved and ashamed. And this is certainly not something you want them to feel, and certainly not something that will help their confidence. Give as much support as you can, cheer them on, encourage them, and when nothing else works, step in and give a hand....After all, you and your child do make the best team!

2. Allow your child to make decisions:

Always telling your child what to do and how to do things is one of the greatest mistakes we tend to make as parents. Spoon feeding your child about handling every little situation will only make them more and more dependent. This will make it increasingly difficult for them to take a decision in case mamma or papa are not around. Such kids grow up with comparatively lower self esteem and always need someone to tell them what to do.

Let your child take some decisions. Start by giving smaller situations, like what to make for dinner. Gradually move to some bigger situations, like talking about money and deciding which of the two things to buy. There are many little ways you can help your child take their own decisions. Teach them about repercussions that their decisions can have. Teach them to think through things and weigh the pros and cons. Of course your guidance will be needed much on the way, but keep it just to that - guidance - and don't make it to dictating. Let them figure it out.

3. Lead by example:

As a parent there are a lot of things you have to look after. Let your child know that you have many responsibilities and that it is your role to take care of certain things. Don't create a fictional world where only fairies and princesses exist. Tell them about how you have to be really good at what you are doing and be responsible for what you do. Seeing you being participative and responsible is the first step towards your child emulating the same.

4. Hand out small tasks:

Let your child find out first hand how it feels to handle responsibility. Start by giving them small regular chores that they can easily do without your help. You could give them various tasks like watering the plant, making their bed, cleaning up their room, arranging their books on the shelves, drying the dishes (of course not the breakable ones to begin with!) and sorting them out, making their own sandwich (something that doesn't involve fire.)

Taking care of personal belongings, like a watch or a favourite toy is also a good way to teach them about being responsible.

5. Teach them that it's okay to sometimes fail too:

This can be tricky! As much as you are telling your child how to succeed in life, you need to also make sure that your child knows the realities - that failure and success are both inter-related.

Let your child do her best and be there for her always, but also assure them that sometimes, it is okay to not be the best, or not be able to do something. Tell them that about your own experiences where you may not always have succeeded. Once they know that you faced a similar situation too, they will be better able to understand and cope with it.

6. Talk to them and always be available:

One of the biggest gifts you can give your child is your gift of listening. Make sure you keep the communication channel open. If you always reprimand your child for small mistakes or shame them for their failures, your child will most likely find it difficult to confide in you.

Make communication easy for your child. Let them be confident of coming up to you and talking about anything, without the fear of being instantly reprimanded. Tell them that you will surely discuss with them if something is wrong, but don't make it into a big scolding and punishing act.

There are so many ways that you can nurture your child and help them be the confident and wonderful grown ups they are surely going to be. Your support and your love and your understanding can really do wonders.

Believe in them, and give them the wings to fly!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
Happy Parenting!!!!

Be good to your little one, and to the millions of little ones out there who truly need every bit of love and compassion they can get.....Be a grown the little ones.... Debolina Raja Gupta
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