The duty of all parents is to raise a self-sufficient being that can function on their own That’s the parental curse; the job require you pour all this love and attention into a little person just so they can ultimately leave you and take that love elsewhere. Yet especially in recent years, the trend towards coddling and overprotecting children has been growing, with parents becoming especially clingy rather than working to foster independence.
As Barbara Littman states in her book Everyday Ways to Raise Smart, Strong, Confident Girls, “in school and often at home, a big part of growing up is spent going along with what is happening rather than making things happen.” The result is that children have very little experience in decision making. When it comes to taking the initiative on their own, many kids don’t know what to do.
Thus parents should try to find more ways to get children out of the passive-submissive role and more involved in the “making things happen” role. There are several easy ways to do this:
Give kids a chance to come up with the solution.
Parents are so used to being the go-to problem solver, the all-knowing oracle for their child that they often don’t stop to consider how much they dictate to their kids in situations where a child could formulate a solution on their own. When a problem presents itself, get in the habit of asking children what they think they should do as opposed to telling them what to do. You can still guide them towards the correct answer, but this gets them accustomed to taking the lead and coming up with solutions on their own.
Involve them in planning.
Try to involve kids in planning family functions whenever possible. Give them the job of researching potential vacation spots on weekend getaways. Or let them pick one meal a week that they might enjoy and then involve them in the process of planning what needs to happen to prepare it – items to be purchased, preparations to be made, and so on.
Facilitate their leadership.
Make a conscientious effort to follow their lead more often. Kids are very imaginative and come up with some crazy ideas. When is the last time you helped them develop one of these plans, even if it’s rather childish or silly? Do so once, and I guarantee you that you’ll have a child who starts actively imagining all sorts of ways they might be able to change the world.
Not only will they enjoy the role reversal, but it should help them develop a sense of competence that will carry over into everyday life.