5 WAYS TO PROMOTE YOUR CHILD’S AUTONOMY
Since autonomy is a process that takes time, patience, and practice, your child will not become autonomous by herself. This learning is essential as it leads to self-determination and independence. As a parent, it is your role to provide opportunities to your child so that she can make choices and take on responsibility from a very young age.
Here are 5 ways to encourage your child to develop autonomy:
1. Allow your child to make choices. When you offer more choices to your child, she feels she has more control over some aspects of her life in a world where adults make all the decisions. She feels respected and learns to develop important decision making skills.
2. Let your child do it. When tasks are challenging or take time, you may over-supervise or do it yourself so that it goes faster and/or the task is better accomplished. It is hard to watch your child struggle, but it is where the growth takes place. Every time your child does something on her own, it helps build her self-confidence.
3. Encourage her ideas. Support your child’s creativity by letting her to take initiatives, taking small risks, trying new things, or changing strategies. You are her guide to success. Failures should be perceived as life lessons or as new challenges to overcome.
4. Let your child solve her problems. Your child faces a variety of problems every day. Problems ranging from academic difficulties, peer issues, problems on the sports fields, difficulty completing a task, or even deciding what outfit to wear can benefit from a formal solving process. When your child learns problem-solving skills she develops autonomy and gains confidence in her ability to make good decisions for herself.
5. Praise your child and do not take away her hope. If your child is determined to try out for something you are not quite sure she can do on her own, give her the opportunity to go through the process and be supportive of her. I f your child succeeds, praise her. If she does not, she will learn from her experience and you will be right there by her side.
Once a child has a sense of autonomy, she respects her parents’ boundaries. She knows she is free to explore the safe world set up for her and will start making healthy choices. The promotion of autonomy helps to develop the life skills necessary when parents are no longer around.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.