Yours truly used to be an over-protective, do-it-all-for-kids mama. Or should I say I still am to an extent! Well, I love cuddling them, carrying them and the mother in me swells with pride when someone says that my boy is Mama’s boy or someone comments that like mother like daughter about my girl.
My dear Hubby and my mum were quick to figure out what’s going on and how this behavior of mine can be detrimental to kids in the long run. When we discussed about it, I did realize that my overly help could actually make them clingy and restrict them from becoming independent and face the world.
So, let me share with you some tips and tricks that am practicing. By the way, check this article because it has lots of important pointers.
No Spoon feeding
I had / have this bad habit of making things to simple for them. Example: if the boy doesn’t know how to do a particular task like writing a particular letter or reading a word etc., I would wait for 1-2 seconds and straightaway give the answer. Readymade!!! Kids will be happy but at the same time, they’ll not even try to figure it out themselves. Similarly, they should do their own routine work after certain age – taking bath, brushing teeth, feeding themselves, changing clothes.
So, no spoon-feeding is the first tip.
Once the kids know that there are not going to be direct solutions, they have no choice but put in sincere efforts. They’ll have to do their own things. This leads them to learn independently.
Be Flexible and Available
Yes, you have to make the kids independent but that doesn’t mean that you have to always rule with an iron fist. Sometimes, they do need our help because certain tasks can be too huge for their little brains – that problem sum could be like a big mountain or school project could be too complex for them to comprehend. In such events, be flexible and offer help. Again, offering help doesn’t mean complete spoon-feeding!
Give them some pointers, work with them and help them to complete the home work / project. Next time, they’ll work on their studies or any other scenarios related to their world independently before turning to you for help.
Make them a part of household decision making
I always say that Kids are the Best teachers and they understand much more than we think. It’s a great idea to listen to their views, take their suggestions before making household decisions like which TV to buy, where to plan our next trip. Many times, I have seen that my kids are quick to come up with pointers that can resolve the most tricky situations.
When as parents, we make them a part of decision making process, they start thinking independently. They get acquainted to their own mental capability and become more confident.
Let them take their own little decisions
“Noo! you must wear this shirt when we are going out tonite”…
“You cannot refuse to eat this dish”…
“Mom and Dad will decide what time you will sleep on weekends”…
Does this conversation is a regular one at your home? Then according to me, it needs some change. We should let kids take some decisions as far their little world is concerned. Example – What gift they want to buy for their friend’s birthday, what brand of stationery they think is the best etc. etc. Let’s give them free hand to make choices. Their choices could be messy and wrong but respect them.
Am not saying that we literally let them do whatever they want! If their choices are outright harmful then of course, we have to put a stop there. But if their choices are different than yours doesn’t mean they are wrong. Allow them to decide for themselves. When kids take their own decisions, they becomes accountable for it. They get the sense of responsibility to carry out the decisions and that leads to raising an independent child.
Don’t always blanket the kids
This is one behavior trait of mine that I am still working on. By the way, as a parent, we have to correct ourselves before correcting kids, agree or not?
Well, One dejected expression on their face and I melt like a butter instantly. The girl comes home sad saying that one girl bullied her and I become a lioness and start thinking of complaining to teacher and the mother of that girl and so on. If the bullying incident is serious then yes, I need to take an immediate action. But what if its just some petty fight etc. then should I over-react and blanket my daughter? Can’t I let her tackle her own issues at least to an extent? Yes, I should let her face the reality. I should not always blanket the kids.
The world is going to be full of good and bad experiences and kids must face it. As a parent, I can always be there for them, support them but I should not always shield them. Let them shed some tears, Let them face failures, let them find their own way and achieve wisdom.
Another thing I am learning is to say NO. Kids demand that latest toy, that latest brand of clothes, tickets to the latest attraction and I give them that on the platter. Shouldn’t I wait and let them earn that much-desired stuff? Yes, I should.
When they know that I am not going to blanket the kids and say yes to their whims and fancies, they’ll become independent. Once they know that they’ve to earn it, they start working towards the goal determinedly.
Last but not the least, kids should not take their new found Independence for granted. We have to ensure that they know the basic principle of Independence – Independence is NOT doing your own thing, It’s doing RIGHT thing on your own!
What’s your mantra to raise independent kids? Don’t forget to share.
This blog post is in collaboration with Friso.
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