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Gauge your childs growing self-reliance

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

All children grow up, and leave their parents one day. Your job is to ensure that the child grows up well. For this, you need to pace your child. There are some parents who want to rush their child into adulthood. You must avoid this.

You will cause more harm than good if you rush your child. The best is to watch out for small signs of self-reliance. For instance, you can walk him to school for the first few weeks. Once he is aware of the route, you can let him walk alone. If nothing goes wrong, you can make this a normal practice. However, if your child seems reluctant to walk alone then accompany him for a few more weeks  till he is ready to walk on his own.

If time permits, you should allow your children to pack their own lunch, maybe even prepare it. There are some children who would rebel at the prospect of making their own meal; dont force them. But there may be a few who may love to experiment with their food. They should be allowed to do so under your guidance. You will find that they will gain in self-confidence soon.

Planning is another part of growing up. Let the child plan the day at least once a week. This may even include preparing a new time table to do home work. It is quite possible that the child may come up with a better way of handling home work. Pat your child for being innovative, and encourage him to come up with more new ideas. Implement them if you feel they are going to work. This will make your child feel more responsible and confident.

Pay special attention to the backpack. Make sure that the child does not carry unnecessary load. The child should also be made to arrange the books and notebooks neatly. You can even allow your child to select his own dress especially if he is going out with friends. Give the child a reason to value his independence. You can always pull it back if you find your child making mistakes.

Most parents guide their children in their home work. The ideal situation is to let the child take on the responsibility and do the homework on his own. You can always help if the child is stuck in a problem or needs guidance in a new area. You just have to judge the childs diligence and conscientiousness.

Some good habits can be inculcated early, like writing thank-you notes, performing daily exercises, looking after pets, taking care of younger siblings and helping parents in small ways. While all these activities lead to making the child self-reliant, it is better to supervise till the child really picks up strength and sufficient expertise to do things himself.

You are the best judge to estimate your childs self-reliance. Independence should be restricted to a few areas alone. Freedom of playing with pets or lighting the stove unsupervised can lead to unfortunate accidents. Let your child take one step at a time.