Tuesday, October 19, 2010

15 Parenting Tips I Give Myself: Nurture Independence

Tip #10
Nurture independence as much as possible.

As much as I can't wait for my kids to relying upon me less, I catch myself all-too-often shooting myself in the foot, not allowing them to make steps in that direction. They want to try to buckle themselves in their booster but I am in too much of a hurry and do it for them. They want to get themselves a drink of water but I don't want to clean up a water spill so I get it for them. They want to use the apple slicer to cut their own apple but I already know they cannot possibly succeed so I find myself struggling to let them just try before I insist we do it together.

Obviously, taking the time to allow the kids to try things is well worth the time. It would be ridiculous to say otherwise but if that is the case, why do I find I must convince myself of this over and over again? It requires me to slow down, be patient, and watch them struggle even to the point of frustration. That is no small task!

My husband challenged me on this topic earlier this year. He did not appreciate how much the kids expected of me and did not like the way they were treating me (I had not noticed... too busy pouring water and slicing apples, I guess). He made the point that we are raising men and that men need to be given the chance to figure things out, to struggle some, and to ultimately become independent of me. So I took his advice to heart and have been focusing on NOT DOING THINGS FOR MY KIDS THAT THEY THEMSELVES CAN DO. In addition, when I hear them subtly asking for my help without actually asking - like for instance complaining that "I'm thirsty!" rather than asking politely for a drink of water - I use that as another opportunity to nurture independence by asking "How are you going to solve this problem?"

I love putting the thinking back on them. And I love that they are catching on that they are good problem solvers and that there are lots of things they don't actually need me for!


candice said...

my husband has had to point out this parenting tip to me too...thank you for the reminder and now I am going to write it where i can see it daily!

Ann @ Parenting Philippines said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to share those useful tips, readers would truly learn from this.