5 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Self-Reliance

One of the most complex parts of being a parent is watching your children grow. While it may be hard to picture your little one as an adult, it’s inevitably going to happen. To help children become well-balanced adults, it’s important to foster healthy boundaries and independence. And one way to do that is through principles of self-reliance. Putting in the work now while they are children will help them become successful adults in the future.

Self-reliance means reliance on one’s own abilities rather than depending on someone else. When you help children become self-reliant, they become more confident, happier, and well-adjusted for adulthood. That means that encouraging self-reliance is a big part of being a parent. Once children reach an age where they can think independently and explore their world, you can support their self-reliance. Here are 5 ways you can start.

Child's Self-Reliance

1. Give Them a (Safe) Personal Phone

Technology is an ever-present part of our world and environment. In particular, personal cell phones are becoming standard for adults and children as well. This opens an entirely new world to children, and parents are rightfully wary of the dangers that cell phones present. However, technology and access to the internet are inescapable realities, so finding a balance is critical. Finding a safe cell phone designed for children is a great way to introduce technology.

Providing a safe phone for kids can help them learn about responsibility, technology, and healthy communication. This allows parents to help children gain self-reliance in a safe, monitored environment. Setting guidelines and letting children learn about technology can build a healthy relationship with phones and the internet.

2. Let Them Do Tasks Independently

Another great way to encourage self-reliance is to let children do tasks independently. Far too often, it can be easier to do things for our children to save time and frustration. By allowing children to do jobs independently, they start to learn what they can. It also encourages them to try more things and expand their boundaries.

Things like getting dressed, packing a bag, tying shoes, gathering supplies, and brushing your teeth are all great examples of tasks. Allow your children to try these things for themselves and gain confidence in life skills. Not only will they be more self-reliant, but they will learn patience at the same time.

3. Encourage Problem Solving

Seeing our children struggle is never easy to observe as a parent. A parent’s instinct is often to jump in and help their children when they have a problem. However, by letting children problem-solve, you build self-reliance, critical thinking, and logical reasoning skills. It also helps you discover more about your children and see how they learn and grow.

Try giving your child clues to their problem and offer suggestions if they seem stuck. For example, if your child is unsure where something is, mention the places the item usually is. This way, you guide your child and don’t overstep and solve for them. When your children can problem-solve, they will be more likely to handle issues as an adult. They build self-reliance and have confidence in themselves to manage future problems without additional help.

4. Assign Some Chores

Letting your children gain self-reliance skills doesn’t just rely on you allowing them to make their own way. You can actively encourage independence and self-reliance by assigning chores and tasks for your children. Not only does this help them learn about responsibility and cooperation, but it teaches important life skills. Those types of life skills will follow your children throughout their lives and into adulthood.

Different chores make sense for children of different ages. Small children can help carry plates to the sink or put the pillows on their beds after making them. Slightly older children can load the dishwasher, wipe down the counters, or different dust rooms. And even older children can help with laundry, vacuuming, and yard work or outdoor chores.

5. Allow Them to Make Mistakes

Perhaps even harder than seeing our children struggle is watching them make mistakes or fail at things. However, learning from mistakes is a key part of developing and growing. That means that, as a parent, you might need to step aside and let your children make mistakes to learn. That doesn’t mean you let them get hurt or get in dangerous situations, but there are other ways to let your children learn.

For example, if your child doesn’t tell you about a school project on time, allow them to see the consequences of their choices. It will teach them how to be responsible and see that there are negative impacts in life. Another way is to let them get dirty after warning them not to jump in puddles. That allows them to see that it’s uncomfortable and makes them think about choices. These types of mistakes are learning experiences that can help build self-reliance.

Helping Your Child Become a Successful Adult

As a parent, it can be hard to watch your babies grow up and start the journey to adulthood. However, this is an unavoidable part of life’s journey. Helping your children become self-reliant sets them up for success as they grow and reach new levels of independence. And when children are self-sufficient, they are happier and become well-rounded, well-adjusted adults. Following these tips and focusing on letting your children make their own decisions lets you know you’re on the right path.

Elizabeth R. Cournoyer

Web enthusiast. Internet fanatic. Music geek. Gamer. Reader. Hipster-friendly coffee practitioner. Spent 2001-2007 merchandising human hair in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Spent 2001-2007 short selling tinker toys in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Spent 2001-2007 importing acne in Phoenix, AZ. Spent several months importing methane in Mexico. Spent the better part of the 90's creating marketing channels for wooden horses in Bethesda, MD. Lead a team implementing toy monkeys in Deltona, FL.

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