This month we will focus on the powerful word; “self-reliance.”
Instilling a sense of self-reliance in our children is a bit of a balancing act. We must know how much to help in order to build confidence and how much (and when!) to let go to build independence. We want to give children enough freedom to encourage exploration and critical thinking without pushing them too fast such that they lose their footing. It takes faith, flexibility and a lot of trial and error!
Self-reliance is also dependent upon self-trust. Self-reliant children must learn to trust their own powers, judgments, and abilities. This can be challenging, of course, when self-reliance means that the road is tougher, slower and often filled with mistakes.
Part of self-reliance is getting back up after falling, trying again after failing and charging forward after repeated setbacks.
It can be challenging to watch our children struggle but when we allow them to accomplish a developmentally appropriate task on their own, they gain confidence and learn that they can do it by themselves. Research tells us that the more we find ways to allow our children to take the lead in their lives, the happier and more capable they will feel.
On the flip side, in February of last year, a study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies (2013) showed that parental over-involvement that does not allow for the development of self-reliance may lead to higher levels of depression and anxiety in children and teens. The researchers found evidence of decreased satisfaction with life, lower levels of perceived autonomy, competence, and relatedness in those students who reported that their parents hovered too closely.
As children’s need for autonomy increases over time, we must help them build faith in themselves as they strive to become independent young adults. This month is a great time to partner with us on helping your children thrive in this area.
We thank you for your support.
You are pivotal in helping to make our school one of the best personal development centers in the world.