Year 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone in different ways due to COVID-19. People are working from home, online classes of children, doing household wok and what not. No one, absolutely no one was prepared and as the time is passing by, people are becoming anxious and exhausted. At the same time, it has been noticed that children are dependent on their parent for almost every task, so the need of the hour is to make your child independent. Parenting has become a challenging task.
Everybody loves their children and wants best for them. People don’t want their child to struggle and so do things for them to make it easy for them. The paradox of parenting is that on one hand parents want their child to be independent and learn to face challenges and on the other hand they do everything for their child and this makes their child dependent on them and less confident to handle things.
Parents most of the time either lack time, or doubt that their child will not be able to do the task on his own or some of the parents also feel guilty about burdening their child.
WHY at a young age a child should be helped to be independent?
There are simple reasons for this:
- The child would be able to learn the concept of choices and decision making.
- This will instill better problem solving approach
- He will learn to identify his errors
- He will gain self-confidence and self-esteem
- Child will learn to face challenges
- Child will become self-responsible
- This will also help the child to become competent
Following are the ways that can be helpful to Parenting: make your child independent:
Identify opportunities: It is very rightly said “What we do find largely depends on what we look for”. The same applies in the area of Parenting, Try to look for work that your child can do. This would require a mindful approach to look out for opportunities where your child can do things for himself. This will help make your child independent.
Make time, keep patience: When parents keep patience, then children become more prepared to try things on their own. Parents who become too worried or restless, while a child is doing something on his own, create a discomforting environment, which leads to problem in the independent functioning of the child. So its of utmost importance that parents take out sufficient time and keep patience so that the child feels encouraged to do things on his own.
Forget perfection: Parents need to accept that the child will may not do the task the way they do it. Child will take time to do it with the precision in which you do it. So, while taking out water from refrigerator, if it spills, then do not criticize the child, instead help the child to clear up and assure that this happens with most of the people.
Praise for effort: Find a reason to praise your child, even if he/she didn’t do the task properly. Focus on the intent of the child and the effort that he or she had put in the task, this will help make your child independent.
Stop Doing Everything for Them: Though it is easier for parents to do things themselves as it saves time but in this whole process the child child misses out on learning. I had a client where a mother reported that her child is 12 yrs old and she still feeds her child and completes the school work of the child.
Teach Them Life Skills: An important aspect of parenting is to make our children independent we need to involve them in basic house hold activities also. Basic life skills include clearing the table, serving food, making bed, basic cooking skills, arranging their material, helping in taking care of younger siblings etc. These are activities which prepare them for adulthood also.
Give Them Responsibilities : Staying together as a family also means sharing responsibilities together. Children should be aware of their responsibility of managing the house as adults do and they should be conveyed that their contribution matters. As learning at an early age will make them become responsible and value hard work and make your child independent.
Show Confidence: Make your child feel that you believe him and trust him. Express your confidence in their choices and give them space and freedom to decide what to wear, read, study etc.and acknowledge them for their choices.
Create an Independent Environment: The child should be aware that the specified task is his task, he has to think, plan and execute it. When the child is aware that he has the space and the freedom, then he can think and discuss with you. So creating independent environment also means, allowing your child to brain storm what he can do?, how he can do ? etc.
Establish a Proper Routine: If you want to make your child independent than remember that a structured routine is the most important step. Proper routine means that child is aware and knows that his schedule needs a structure which would happen with proper time management. Time management means proper time for sleep schedule, eating schedule, study schedule, leisure time, personal hygiene etc, and all this would require proper time management.
Let Them Make Mistakes: Who doesn’t make mistakes? The child will make mistakes while doing something independently, but that is how we all learn. For egs, while helping you in doing dusting, he may miss out to remove a spot. But then once you show him how its done, he will gradually learn and the frequency of mistakes will decrease.