How do you raise self reliant children? In many ways this is an impossible task. Parents are the primary caregivers and by doing your job well you will create a child who depends on you. This is a good thing. Children should know they can depend on their parents, and your child will grow up much more secure, confident and happy than if they were expected to take on too much responsibility as children. But how to push them out of the nest when the time comes?
A parent must first figure out what type of child they have. Is your child prone to dreaming of large life goals? Or are they prone to getting fixated on small tasks and interests? If you’re lucky, you will have a child that does both, but they will usually favor one or the other and this will help a parent realize what areas their child is going to need help on. Self reliance is about taking control of both the small and the large aspects of life.
The dreamer will be good at setting long term goals, but may fall short on planning the small steps to reach those goals. You don’t want to discourage their dreaming or they will never become the pilots of their own life, but you will want to help them realize how smaller dreams and smaller goals will add up to accomplishing the larger goal. Show them that there is a path to their heart’s desire and that it isn’t just an unreachable fantasy. Encourage them to take on day to day planning habits by pointing out how ‘A’ leads to ‘B’ leads to ‘C’ and so on. Raising a self reliant children will be a matter showing them how to build a path.
The focused child will be very good at handling the day to day tasks that make up life, but will not be able to set larger goals and work towards them. As adults they may become financially independent sooner, but will realize at age 50 that they haven’t accomplished anything they really want. Because the dissatisfaction with life’s course happens so much later in life, it is often the dreamer that is seen as the irresponsible child. But a parent will want to ensure that they raise a child who can find fulfillment and success in life, and not just be capable of surviving it. Opening up a focused child’s mind will be a matter of exposing them to as much variety as possible, as well as giving them examples of others who have accomplished great things through hard work and focus. They will begin to see how their skills can help them build to something bigger, and will learn to set meaningful life goals.
Lastly, the child who displays talent at both will need to learn how to connect the two. It will be rare that they use their focus or their dreaming at the same time, and the connections between the two might not be clear to them.
Building and raising self reliant children will be about showing how hard work today leads to dreams tomorrow. Be patient and supportive and your child will be happy, healthy, and successful.
Here are a couple of great books that also cover How To Raise Self Reliant Children.
What Does It Mean To Be Self Reliant
What does it mean to be self reliant? Well, it means being able to rely on yourself. That is of course a circle definition. But I say that in order to wake up the mind of the reader. “Self-reliant” has become a single phrase that is analogous with independence. It is important to break down the term into its parts in order to understand the true meaning.
What leads to a feeling of being able to rely on yourself? Well, to take an old metaphor, it is the feeling that you will land on your feet. No matter what situation you are thrown into, you feel you will be able to survive it. Further, you feel that you will be able to come out of it better than when you went in. Lastly, you feel that you will not be pushed off course, or will be able to change course as needed and still move towards goals that are meaningful to you.
When looked at in this manner it is more clear that self reliance isn’t about independence, it’s about balance. A self reliant person is not cut off from the others around them, nor are they completely able to meet all of their own needs without anyone else’s help. That is not true of 99.9% of humanity and that is as it should be. Humans evolved as social creatures, and our reliance on our communities is what allowed us to survive as a species. Self-reliant people are not cut off from their societies, instead, they are those who have found a way to work within their societies in ways that benefit themselves and others.
Bill Clinton states that, “There’s no difference between selfish and selfless if you understand how the world works.” This points to the fact that the world is interconnected. Humans are not born into a vacuum. Each of us lives our lives in the company of others. Our actions have effects on others and their actions have an effect on us. Furthermore, humanity is just one species of billions on the planet, and the planet is just one of 8 in the solar system, the sun just one star of…you get the point. Every piece of the world acts on and affects all of the other pieces. The only real question is to what degree?
Once this is understood it is clear that actions taken to help others also end up helping yourself. While actions taken to help the self can also benefit others. Self reliant people learn to strike a balance with society in which they are taking actions to help themselves, therefore creating more productive members of society, and benefiting society as a whole. As things add up, self reliant people end up being a net positive to society and those who strike even or are a net negative are not considered self reliant.
The nuts of bolts of self reliance is often listed as doing their own laundry or paying bills on time. Once we break down what self reliance is, we can see that these standards are put in place so that individuals are not burdening others with tasks they can accomplish for themselves, therefore freeing others to handle other tasks that benefit society and so create a net positive for everyone.
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