Children have the drive to be independent and do things on their own. This is a healthy part of child development. They learn to confidently and creatively do more and more tasks as they grow older. Parents can help their kids become independent by allowing and encouraging them to take responsibility from time to time. It is perhaps easier, faster, and less messy to do things for your kids, but they learn quicker from participating in the tasks. When children practice simple self-help skills such as feeding and dressing themselves, they enhance their large and small motor skills, gain confidence in their ability to try new things, build their self-esteem, and take pride in their independence.
How can you help your child to feel confident?
It is natural for your child to explore new things and test new ideas. Parents should be a secure and predictable protector. If parents are consistent in response to their children’s needs, then a greater sense of security is developed. When parents are less predictable, sometimes criticizing and other times overly optimistic in praise, the child is wary of the response and more fearful of meeting rebuke.
1. Be consistent:
This can be evidenced by young children becoming extra clingy and fearful of their parent’s departure. It is equally possible, however, that children will react angrily or avoid a parent’s help on some occasions. They may become more secretive or manipulative. In this way, they feel more empowered because they are manipulating the variables and can predict the outcome. This can feel safe to them; even if they know that the result for them is likely to be negative.
Children become adept at reading body languages and signals. Have a repertoire of safe signals. For instance, catch your child’s eye and respond with a smile. For the older child an almost slight raising of an eyebrow or inclination of the head. Know which words are comforting. Develop a word or a signal which shows you approve or disapprove that is secret to you both.
2. Allow safe risks:
Relationships are made by doing things together. Ensure that there are opportunities for togetherness. At times parents say this becomes more difficult in adolescence. It is essential and possible to engage the adolescent at their point of interest and not to force them to join at the parent point of interest. It is through this regular contact that each individual becomes attuned to the other’s needs. This is certainly made easier if connections have been made since birth. Make sure that both father and mother have had an opportunity to engage with the baby early on and one partner is not left out of the loop until the toddler stage and beyond.
Fathers who have early contact with their child have a stronger attachment with them in the months following the birth, teen years, and beyond. This relationship and affection is a crucial part of the bonding process and can get stronger. Children and parents gain confidence in the support developed, one to the other. It is this intimate knowledge and understanding and increasing confidence that provides the foundation for stepping out or pushing the exploration of the world a little further. For example,the young child will climb higher up the ladder with Dad or Mom watching; they will move from the tricycle to the bicycle with trust and confidence that their parents will support them to be successful. The adolescent will take a journey independently, join new clubs and make new relationships more confidently.
3. Model discussion and informed good choices.
Practice and model informed discussion rather than dissent or argument. Teachpositive talks and inquiry rather than disagreement and problems. Encourage enthusiastic differences rather than volatile anger. Demonstrate the value of differences of opinion. This is achievable from a very early age.
Through play, sports and activities in the home, parents can promote autonomy, independence, and a strong sense of self-identity. Children develop an understanding of what other people are thinking or need and can appreciate that people may feel differently about the same issue. It is this understanding of similarities and differences between the self and others that will foster the resilience needed for future independence and security.
If you enjoyed reading this blog article please like, share and leave me a comment I would love to hear from you. Also, I’m happy to announce my new book “I Am Learning How To Empowe Myself – A 12 Week Guide Toward Self-Empowerment Women’s Journal,” is set to be release on March 1st.