Fostering Independence: Raise your Child to be his or her Best Self
Updated: Jan 27, 2019
As parents, we can support our children to experience failure and success, as well as develop the self-confidence necessary to cope with life's challenges.
Giving choices and trusting in their abilities is key to fostering independence.
Children need to use their voices and make decisions. I usually give the choice between only two things. If the child doesn't pick one of them, I offer a third. The options have to be clear. I am constantly seeking opportunities to let them choose, such as books, activities to do, or food. You can encourage your child to solve problems and ask them what they think. Getting children involved in home decisions is really useful.
Is your child able to tie their own shoelaces? Tidy up their plate? Carry their own stuff?
If you find yourself doing these kinds of things and the answer is 'yes', the best gift you can give your child is your trust.
I understand. Most of the time we try and save time or help them more than they need. But children need to take care of themselves and feel capable of doing things on their own.
This approach helps to foster their independence and self-confidence.
'Everything you do for me, you take away from me' Maria Montessori.
Sometimes children get stuck or don't understand a game or task. They seem unsure about what to do next. I think these kind of moments are great opportunities to let children fail on their own. Allow children the opportunity to experience obstacles. Providing your child the chance of being frustrated and solving problems by themselves is crucial for their development.
Unless it's a big deal, it´s best to try and let your child deal with the difficult situation. After that, you can offer support to help if they need and to talk about the feelings which came up.
Here some questions you can ask your child:
'How do you feel when something is difficult?'
'Why was that frustrating to you?'
'What did you do to solve the problem?'
'What do you need to feel calm?'
'Is there another way to show your feelings?'(If their behaviour was harmful or unsafe)
'What can you do to feel more confident?'
Listen to your child's answer without being judgemental. It's something that matters to them, so it's really important.