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Teaching Your Children to Be Self Reliant and Independent

Updated on July 16, 2012

Being a parent is not an easy job. It demands a lot of commitment, sacrifices, effort and time. At different season, it can be difficult and stressful then on the other it can also be fulfilling and enjoyable especially when your kids are doing great.

The amount of family bonding activities nurtured through the growing years between parents and children are just priceless. Amidst the ups and downs, successes and failures in family life, being a parent blessed with children to care and love is still an awesome job and great opportunity.

So what are the practical ways to help build self-reliant and independent children so that parents can have a sense of relief and less stressful tasks with them?

The following are some suggestions and helpful ideas to get started.

1. Establish Trust and Open Communication

Build a sense of trust with your children by having an open communication within the family. Encourage the children to speak openly to you as their parents about anything. Give them a sense of freedom when it comes to expressing their opinions, questions, doubts or anything that interest or concern them. Answer their questions and doubts. Give proper advice and guidance when needed.

2. Be a Good Listener and Understand Behaviour

Allocate time and be a good listener to your children. Hear their different views in order to understand them in whatever situation they are in their growing up years. Be observant of their inward and outward behaviour manifestation so that you can better guide and help your children.

3. Teach and Mentor By Good Example

Be a good teacher and a good example to your children. Set important guidelines and boundaries for them to follow and obey. Explain it in a simple, clear and concise way that they will be able to understand. You can probably use the cause and effect or the advantage and disadvantage strategies to better explain to your children.

4. Encourage Respect within the Family

Encourage your children to treat others with respect. At the same time show them that you respect them as parents even if they are small or big kids. Respect is very important in building the child’s self confidence and trust in himself.

5. Encourage Courtesy and Avoid the Use of Bad Words

Always encourage your children to be courteous and never to use bad words within the family or with other people. Explain to them the importance of showing courtesy in action and words. Explain the importance of holding their proper position and when to speak especially among elders.

6. Encourage Cooperation and Team Work

Teaching the children to cooperate and understand the value of team work will ease and give way to a healthy relationship in the family. Explain to your children why they need to cooperate and act as one team in the family. Explain the significance of each family member contribution that will affect in achieving any task or family endeavour. You can probably use the domino effect strategy for this or any example showing the same concept.

7. Introduce Chore Chart System or Parent-Child Contract Agreement

To better organize your family household and introduce the value of responsibility to your children, as parents you can use the Chore Chart System to assigned specific task for each family member to accomplish. Start assigning household task that they can do on their own like washing the dishes, cleaning their rooms, arranging their closet, feeding the cats and dogs or anything that would slowly introduce them to take responsibility in the house. If your children are bigger enough, you can probably introduce the use of Parent and Child Contract Agreement that you can work together in achieving a certain objective. In this agreement, you can probably set some rules on the use of TV, gaming devices at home, observing proper time allocation for studying, recreation and attending to household chores. You can include certain rewards in the contract agreement which they will get if they will adhere to it. This way you are showing your children that you are serious with what you have agreed with them and that you expect the same from them as well. Using these methods can help you as parents monitor your children’s performance as well us give credit for a job well done or imposed penalty or punishment for not following certain task as agreed.

8. Acknowledge Good Works and Introduce Reward Points

Whenever your children have done well in anything maybe in school, at home or any good deed, as parents you should be on top of the people who should acknowledge your children. Show your support and love to them by telling them how grateful and proud you are as their parent for the job well done. Introduce the use of Reward Points as motivator for your children to encourage them to keep on doing well and strive to achieve their goals. Children always like to be rewarded and acknowledge. You can do this by probably adding extra allowance, giving a treat, a gift or any special way that you can show your appreciation for your children’s accomplishment.

9. Teach Your Children the Value of Money and How to Manage It Properly

If you are introducing money allowance for your bigger children, ensure to teach them about basic budget allocation depending on the duration you set whether it is on a weekly or monthly budget. Teach them on how to prioritize expenses, properly allocate and wise spending of their allowance. Introduce the value of money saving if they want to buy certain things on the coming days. Explain to them the value of money and how to manage it properly. Explain to your children that the money allowance given to them are hard earned money that should be treated and spend wisely out of respect of their parents labour and effort to generate income for the family.

10. Teach Your Children to Be Self Starter, Resourceful and Independent With Their School Assignment and Activities

While you want your children to do well in school and monitor their performance, allow them to be self-starter, resourceful and independent in doing their school assignment and activities. You can probably guide them on certain school projects but never do the projects and assignment for them. Encourage them to do it on their own. Stress the importance and the joy of achieving high grades through their individual effort. If they encounter difficulties in doing their school works, just simply assist and guide but give them the freedom to deal and finish it on their own.

11. Give Your Children Time to Play, Relax, Enjoy with Friends and Have Their Own Private ME Time

While you are setting time with your children for family bonding, household chores or studying, it is very important that you also give them some breaks to play, relax and enjoy with their friends to have a balance and healthy life. Allow them to have their private ME time for themselves to spend on their own. Same as adults, the children needed those times to build healthy social skills as well.

12. Allow Your Children to Make Mistakes

While as parents we always want our children to do well in all aspects and meet our expectations, give room for failures and mistakes also. Be receptive and understand whenever children failed or do some mistakes. Be an encourager and mood lifter for your children to boost their self esteem and self confidence. Encourage them to never give up during failures and teach them to persevere. To continue to try until they achieve their goals. Teach them of the value of patience and courage. To have faith in himself/herself.

13. Encourage Your Children to Be a Leader

Among friends and groups, encourage your children to be a leader. To have a sense of trust and self confidence on his/ her own abilities. Encourage your children not be a conformer to mediocrity or feel insecure among the crowd but be a self- driven child with purpose and inner drive to achieve well.

14. Enrol Your Children to Music, Arts and Sports Activities

Encourage your children to learn in music, arts, sports or any activities that they are interested. This way you are introducing your children to healthy and positive diversions of their time that can enhance their personal image, boost self confidence, and improve their talents and skills.

15. Teach Your Children How to Earn Money in Practical Ways

You can teach your children to be independent and earn money on their own during their free time in the house or in the neighbourhood. They can probably do the following:

· Sell lemonade

· Mow the lawn

· Babysit smaller children

· Recycle Things

· Hold a garage sale for unused items

· Housesit for neighbour’s house when they are on vacation

· Wash bikes and cars

· Do extra household for parents

· Walk the dogs

· Look after neighbour’s pet when they are on vacation

There are probably other things that you can teach your children so that they can start earning money in a good and proper ways.

Hope you find all above tips and advices useful in teaching your children to be self-reliant and independent on their own. But most all imposed all of these things using your most important tool which is LOVE. You should build your home and relationship with your children with the love ingredient so that everyone will be happy in the family.


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    • Sparkle Chi profile image

      Cate 5 years ago from Chandler, AZ

      Absolutely wonderful list! As a mother to three amazing children from 9 to 19, I have to applaud your ideas!

      Thank you so much for sharing this!

      Rated up and shared!

    • supermom_in_ny profile image

      supermom_in_ny 5 years ago from NY

      This is an excellent hub. Teaching children to be independent is one of the most important lessons a parent must teach. When you don't teach your child responsibility and self reliance, they suffer when they go to college or move out. My kids tell me horror stories about college kids that can't manage their finances, cook their meals or do their laundry. Doing everything for your kids does more harm than good. Voted up and useful! ;)

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 5 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      My daughter is just a little over 1 year old. as early as now we allow her to experience the world around her as much as possible. Of course, we do take precautions just to keep her safe. We see her independence and curiosity and I think that is a good mix. Just a dd a little supervision and that will work well.

    • Mrs Jil Manning profile image

      Mrs Jil Manning 5 years ago from Sussex, England

      I like this very comprehensive list. I particularly like the part about it being important for children to have 'me' time. That's something us adults are always on about but we can easily forget that children need downtime too. Especially when parents can easily pack out their childrens' weekly calendars with activities.