Independence | Day Five

“The sooner children learn to rely on their own strength and abilities,
the deeper their sense of security and the healthier their self-concepts.” ~Kay Kuzma

I believe Kay is talking about things like dressing themselves, going potty by themselves, learning how to open doors or fill up their sippy cup with water -- the small things in life. Because we all know that for everything else, we rely on God. And we get our truest security and self-concept from Him.

But do you know how important it is for a child to know they are capable? Do you know what great pride and happiness that brings them?

I spent the first too-many-years of my oldest son’s life doing everything for him. I was a young mom -- I didn’t know better. I thought that was my job. Wash his face and hands, dress him, pull up his pants when he’s done on the toilet.

Then I had two kids to worry about and I suddenly wished I had taught the older to be more independent.

He is still working through the bad habits I ingrained in him. He still struggles with “doing it himself”. But I’ve seen the light in his eyes on more than one occasion when he reports that he lifted the kickstand on his bike all by himself, or figured out how to put the flashlight back together with new batteries -- and it works!

Children need to be allowed independence, and praised for their “all-by-myself” successes.

Because small successes now = big successes later.

I enjoyed reading Melissa Sher's words in this article. She shares her concerns about over-protective parents, but empathizes, saying "I do know it’s wrong to bubble-wrap my kids’ journey through childhood. But it’s still hard to know when to let go – when to take off the training wheels or stop cutting the grapes. But I am trying."

We're all trying. Because happy children are comfortable in their wings.

Click here to read the rest of the posts in the series, 31 Days to Happier Children.