How do you raise confident, independent and self-reliant, kids? It takes a lot of love and time, experts say. But also, starting from an early age, there are a few big things you can do that will help them discover confidence and independence on their own. While it may be tempting to do some things for your kids when they take so long to do it themselves (tying shoes!), parent experts like best-selling author Michele Borba (The Big Book of Parenting Solutions and others), say that parents will get the best results if they build in more time for kids who take long to do things and for the best results, NEVER do for your kids what they can do for themselves.
Here are the 3 BIGGIES you should never do for them:
Yes, there are the kids whose moms or dads sit with them night after night to achieve perfection in the work, but what is that really teaching the child? That they can’t do it on their own. If you think your child can’t do his own work, he WON’T do his own work. If you need to check his work, that’s another thing altogether, but even after you’ve checked it, if you see something wrong, encourage him to try again and resist the urge to cut to the chase and do it for him!
2) SPEAK FOR THEM
Whether it’s asking a a friend to play or asking for a cup of water at a restaurant, always encourage your child to use his voice. Don’t jump in and talk for him if he’s slow to respond, life’s not perfect timing. Teach your kids to respond for themselves always and you’ll help them to grow in self confidence. If you display confidence of your own that your kids are their own people, they will benefit richly from that. It doesn’t happen overnight, sometimes though. So remember: practice makes perfect.
3) CHOOSE THEIR FRIENDS
In your mind you think you know who are “suitable” friends for your kids but your kids needs to figure this out on their own. Yes you can set up play dates when your kids are young but as they get older they need to navigate friends independently of you. Meanwhile, you have a responsibility to see to it that your kids play with other kids of similar values — help to steer them toward kids who are similarly minded, but ultimately, don’t force friends on them. Again, life doesn’t work that way!