What do I mean by self-sufficient children?

These are children who tend to have greater self-esteem, are better able to manage frustration, and are less dependent on others, experts say. To paint a clearer picture this is the child that at age 5 will not allow you to help her with tying her shoelaces or picking out her outfit.

That sounds awkward, yes but there are indeed kids like this. And not having the right skills and knowledge to raise them as a mother can be overwhelming.

My daughter who is now 10 is a typical example. Right from the age of 5, she will not allow me to help her with certain things. For example, I remember very vividly the day we were to go out and I got her boots. I stepped away briefly by the time I returned she was on the floor trying to put them on.

I stopped to help her and she said “no mum, I can do it by myself!”

That was not like the first time she had displayed that trait, right from as a child she would not allow me to carry her, she wanted to walk quickly, feed herself, and so on.

That trait is growing stronger by the day. The other day we had a strong conversation (with a 10 yr old?) oh yes, that’s the package self-sufficient children come in.

What was it about? She had dressed up for school, and when she came out of her room, I didn’t think what she was wearing was presentable. I asked her to go change, she blurted out that the outfit was ok, no one cared how she looked, her opinion should matter in what she wears, and so on.

I tried to explain to her as her mom, that I will not make a choice that is not best for her, I also had to put on my coaching hat but it was tough to convince her until I had to switch to tough love, by picking out what I wanted her to wear (which I typically do not do).

Now at every stage of the kid’s life, you need to know how to relate with them and manage their uniqueness.

Here are some tips you can apply:

  • Give them a task that they can accomplish, be clear about what you want them to do. For example “go clean up your room” is vague. Be specific, “pick up your toys on the floor, and clean out the bed of your clothes, have them folded neatly and placed in the closet”
  • Guide them and not boss them. Remember you are their parent and not their boss, Present yourself as someone always available for help, without forcing yourself into the equation and solving problems or making decisions on their behalf. Ask them if they need your help on a task they are on, don’t jump in as a supermom who wants to fix everything.
  • Let them play a part in simple decision-making. It is good that you begin to teach them collaborative decision making, you give them choices to make from but also hold the authority of setting boundaries on those decisions example can be, these are the options you have to pick from for your outfit, or do you want to have a sandwich or spaghetti? Don’t leave it open, what do you want to eat?
  • Encouraging them to solve their problems is good for the development of their brain. It teaches them problem-solving and creativity skills.

Raising a child requires a lot of effort, and much more than raising a self-sufficient child.

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