We always encourage parents to teach their child to be independent and think on their foot. To us, what better gift than giving your child the ability to live and survive without our constant involvement.
Doreen Nagle shares her tips on how you can teach your kids to think for oneself. She is the author of "But I Don’t Feel Too Old To Be A Mommy." Here’s a snapshot of what you can do. And children learn from us parents by modeling, according to Doreen:
Do what I say, not what I do — or not: Too often, parents tell their children to behave one way while participating in punishable behavior themselves. For instance, mom and dad say stealing is not OK. However, both regularly helps themselves to the supply closet at work. Remember that actions speak louder than words.
Make room for preferences and temperament: It’s almost cliche to think of the football star’s child who refuses to play sports, or the math teacher’s child preferring literature. No matter how much we may hope (or push) otherwise, our child’s own temperament will always come through. Expose your children to as many healthy choices and experiences as possible, but let them lead you to their preferences. No matter how you maneuver and manipulate, you can’t put a round peg into a square hole. You can lead the horse to water, but — you know the rest.
Explain: Teach your child every value, attitude and preference you have. This is not only your right as a parent, but also your duty. Keep in mind that explaining your reasoning will help lock your preferences into your child’s value system. It also demonstrates to your child how the reasoning process works.
Ask, question, check in: There are rules, which need to be followed; there are facts, which require no further discussion; and then there are opinions. When offering your children an opinion, check to see how they feel about it. For instance, does your little one believe that green is a better choice for coloring in the background of a picture she’s drawing, or does she think another color will work better? As your children mature, raise the stakes by making them think through tougher questions. Let your children know they should listen to other people’s opinions, but they should also be discerning. Thinking for oneself — rather than being manipulated by others — is a habit to be learned.
Teaching your child problem solving skills is definitely a matured and happy adult in the making.