It is easier to say, than to do so. To train your children to be ‘I Can Do It’ generation takes a lot of effort and willingness to view their mistakes or failures as part of the their leaning process. Whenever I work with children at Kindergarten age, I always ask to their parents the same questions: what can your children do independently? Sometimes parents mentioned that they still spoon-feed their children due to efficiency and save more time. They also mentioned that they help their children to put on their clothes and shoes, because they can do it faster! And they come to the clinic because their children are unable to make decision or afraid to try new things.
As the third person, it is easier for me to look inside their stories, while for parents, they only do their best for their children. And as the end result, they have to live with dependent and fearful children. What can they do?
The process to push children out of the nest has to start since early age. The process is gradual and takes times, both for parents and the children. It is not unlikely to see parents cry on the very first day they send their children to school! It is not the case with children only. Sometimes parents feel that they are the ones who know what’s best for their children, that those little babies used to be dependent on them, or the feeling that parents were the ones who can fulfill their children’s needs. Gradually, this role needs to be modified – for the goodness of our children.
There are several ways to foster independence within our children:
- Give them the opportunity to try. No matter what’s the end result, they need the opportunity to try, to know and to explore. By giving such opportunity to our children, parents nurture the seed of self-esteem, that they believe their children can help themselves.
- See mistakes or failures as part of learning process. Give feedback, but avoid criticism. Harsh criticism and label will dull our children’s capacity – to the extend of adulthood.
- Introduce your children to the life outside their ordinary life – go for family camps, trips or stay at friend/family’s house.
- Teach responsibility since very young. Our children is accountable for their behaviors, just like us as adults do.
Again, the whole process is gradual and takes time. What our children need more than anything is the opportunity from their parents/caregivers to let them soar high with their own wings. (CE)