Self-Reliant Part Two

The more of this book I read, the more compelled I am to share it with you!! Seriously, everyone should read this book. It's good stuff.

Today we're going to talk about the barriers to developing capable children. There are five of them. And five BUILDERS to show us what to do.

Barrier #1 is ASSUMING. It won't help children reach their potential.
"If we want people to believe that they can grow and change, then we must allow for change in them and in our relationships. Whenever possible, it is better to expect nothing and discover than to assume prematurely and discourage growth."

We should CHECK rather than assume. "When we take time to check, we are saying that we respect the fact that the person is capable to make decisions, and that we are trying to make room for his or her growth."

Example -- don't assume Bob will forget his coat, instead check by saying something like "what's the weather like today?"

Barrier #2 is RESCUING or EXPLAINING. Children will end up feeling intimidated and uncertain, not capable or significant. "By stepping in too quickly to take care of something for others, we prevent our young people from having necessary experiences." We prevent growth.

So, let's EXPLORE rather than explain -- allow children to discover for themselves. "Experience, especially one that's reflected on, if a far more effective teacher than parents could ever be. By explaining, we retard the development of our children's judgmental skills as well as their sense of being capable."

Example -- don't rescue Susie by bringing her forgotten lunch to school, instead allow experience to teach an important lesson which will lead to increased responsibility

Barrier #3 is DIRECTING. Children will resist and become aggressive and hostile.

We need to ENCOURAGE and INVITE rather than direct. Our children will then be more willing, cooperative, responsive. "Children feel encouraged when we see them as assets rather than objects, see mistakes as opportunities to learn rather than as failures, and invite participation and contributions rather than directing and demanding compliance."

Example -- don't boss your child around, saying "pick up that, put that away...", instead say something like "we have friends coming and this place is a mess, I could really use your help tidying things up".

Barrier #4 is EXPECTING When we set high standards and then poin out our children's failure to reach these standards the results are destructive and discouraging. "...have high expectations of our children, but to anticipate that the children will grow to meet those expectations, not all at once at the first opportunity, but incrementally, in small steps."

We should CELEBRATE rather than expect. Our children will feel affirmed, validated and want to do more. "Too often, adults are preoccupied with what is not happening in a relationship and overlook what is. Children can understand this message: 'I expect you to become all you can, and I anticipate that you will meet my expectations in a series of small steps within your reach. Therefore, any time you take a small step, you have fulfilled my anticipations and have moved toward your potential."

Example -- don't make a 'but' statement (you did this great, BUT); instead recognize progress ("I appreciate the fact that you straightened this cupboard and put these dishes away").

Barrier #5 is ADULTISMS -- any time an adult forgets what it is like to be a child and expects the child to perform as an adult. This results in frustration, hostility and aggression.

We need to show RESPECT rather than "adulting". This will give children the chance to internalize experiences. "If we keep insisting on our superior knowledge, our children will be inhibited from gathering knowledge." We need to show respect for the uniqueness of each individual's perception, embrace diversity.

Example -- Don't say "why didn't you?" or "surely you realize...", instead ask "what was your understanding of what we had agreed upon?" or "how could we have dealt with this differently?" Show respect or you will get a lot of "I don't knows".

Don't you think these concepts might apply to relationships with our spouses as well??