Encouraging Independence Really Pays Off

by Heligirl on October 10, 2011

in Mom Tip Monday,Parenting Articles,Positive Discipline

I’ve talked about encouraging independence and how children are motivated by the desire to please others in my positive discipline articles. I use techniques almost every day that help the kids feel independent, connected and capable.

Now that I’m trying to recover from a seriously sprained hip, I’ve needed to lean on them more than ever and I’m blown away by the response.

The kids know that I’m hurt. They see me on crutches, see me wince in pain, and watch me cry when the pain is too much. They’ve even both started mentioning they have a hurt leg, like Mommy.

In fact, I caught Mr. Man leaning on the couch, sucking in his breath and saying “ouch, ouch, ouch” like I had as I tried to get up from the couch earlier that day.

These little people really do want to be like us. What’s more, they want to be valued and appreciated by us.

I’ve needed to really rely on them this past two weeks and they’ve risen to the challenge. When I tell them, “I really need your help,” they perk up and respond.

I dumped my coffee and was crying in pain trying to clean it up. The kids came running with towels from the bathroom (the only ones they can reach) to help me clean without me asking, and Mr. Man just kept kissing me and asking if it was all better after he did (hey, that’s how I fix his owies).

They’ve brought me things, helped pick things up when I drop them, even help each other do things when I can’t.

This morning as I was slowly trying to get out of bed (morning is the most painful), Sweetness showed up suddenly, readjusted the stool that was by the bed to make it easier for me to get in and out, and handed me my crutches as she gave me this huge loving smile. I didn’t call for her. She just came in to see me, saw me trying to get out of bed, and jumped into action.

When I had to get to the grocery store, I told them before we left that I really needed their help because I hurt. They helped by pushing the cart, helping get things off the shelves I needed, and even keeping fighting to a minimum. I didn’t bribe them with a promise of something if they did what I needed. They did it because I keep gushing over them when they do.

I thanked them so much for their help, gave out lots of hugs and kisses, and despite frustrations and pain, kept my tone light and playful with them.

I share my story here as an example of how when we do treat our kids with respect, giving them ample opportunities to help out around the house to develop their independence as well as showing deep appreciating for them when they do pitch in, they’ll rise to the challenge when you really need them to help.

This injury has really illustrated for me all the theory I’ve been practicing about encouraging independence. When we show our kids we rely on them to help, giving them important opportunities to contribute, they will. And if we show our appreciation, behavior actually improves while the desire to do more increases.

It’s a win-win.

May you experience this yourself without the pain and suffering of being out of commission.


Mama Spaghetti October 15, 2011 at 5:00 pm

What great kids you have! It is so great to see all you’re teaching them in action!
Mama Spaghetti recently posted: What I’m doing when I’m not blogging

Susan October 18, 2011 at 12:45 pm

Isn’t it awesome to see all of your hard work pay off?!! So sorry about your hip. I was there (with regards to pain) when my son was in kindergarten. He was helpful too. But now and then, when he’s having a tough time, he’ll grab his back and say that it hurts. Hope you’re out of pain before too long. And now you have proof positive that you’re doing great with your kids.
Susan recently posted: State of Flux

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