RAISING A SELF-SUFFICIENT CHILD
It may break your heart to let him go, but watching your child soar into happy independence is ultimately rewarding. It’s also, ironically, a lot of hard work
Helicopter parenting – the tendency for parents to hover over their children, ready to swoop in and rescue them out of the first sign of difficulty – is a much laughedabout modern phenomenon. So much so that in protest, Ann Mccready launched the concept of a “No-rescue Policy” in her book, If I Have To Tell You One More Time. Here, she advocates no longer remembering your children’s school lunches for them, among 35 more steps to fostering a healthy sense of responsibility in children.
“A child who always forgets has a parent who always remembers,” jokes Ann, before making the serious point that a child who is always rescued from facing any consequences of his forgetfulness is robbed of the chance to develop personal responsibility and learn from the mistakes he’s made.
Some cultures foreground communality; others value individual achievements. But regardless of whether you lean towards ubuntu or cutthroat capitalism, self care and emotional maturity are basic skills children need to attain so that they can function well as individuals in even the most communal of societies.
Self-sufficiency is not the opposite of healthy interdependence. The coexistence of dependency with independence is something to remain aware of in your parenting, agrees educational psychologist, Jo Hamilton. “I find that some parents hover too much over their child, and when they then decide that their child needs to learn independence, they can be too extreme and too quick in their expectation. What I suggest to parents when they are trying to promote independence in their child is to bridge it. Through their parenting, find thoughtful and creative ways to help a child to progress from dependence to independence. It is a process.”