Friday, July 22, 2011

The Discipline Weekly: The Road to Self-Sufficiency

More often than not, when I know he's capable, I leave Aiden to his own devices. And encourage him to solve his own problems. I've blogged about this before.

I want him to be independent.

I want him to be socially competent.

I want him to be self-sufficient.

You know what they say: A little struggle never hurt nobody. Okay, so I stole that line from Beyonce. Sort of.

But it's true, isn't it? I've learned (the hard way) that if I rush to solve all of Aiden's problems, it deprives him of learning and growing and struggling and thinking about the issue at hand all on his own.

Case in point:

Whenever Aiden asks me to do something that I know he's capable of doing all by his lonesome, I politely say, "No, but you can do it on your own." Sometimes I'll even throw in, "I think you can do such a great job at that -- much better than I could have done it when I was your age." He likes it when I say that one. A lot.

And, whenever he asks me a million and one "why" questions, sometimes, instead of getting annoyed (he's genuinely seeking new information), I'll shoot back at him, "Hmm... I don't know, why do you think?"

This gives him the opportunity to come up with his own answer. And he usually comes up with an answer that makes sense. I don't object because it's usually a pretty creative answer. And I'm usually left in awe by his overall amazingness.

What are some ways you get your children to be self-sufficient?

Share 'em in the comments.


  1. So true! Good old-fashioned parenting in the 21st century. Parents who think it's loving to do every little thing for their child should remember that raising our children means to raise future adults who can take care of themselves.

  2. I really like that you encourage Aiden to think about "why" himself. Definitely an awesome way to raise him to be independent and self-sufficient. Isn't it amazing the insightful and thoughtful responses kids come up with when encouraged to use their own logic, reasoning, and imagination!?

  3. My kids always ask me what something is. I respond, "You tell me what that is." They mostly answer correctly and if they do not know the exact word, they will describe it.

  4. I think you are right on track. You do have to give your kids the extra push to make them work. The world isn't going to do everything for them, so it is the parents job to get them ready.
    Especially as moms it is tough but it must be done!

  5. I am so with you, Alicia. I want Peanut to be as self sufficient as possible!! These are great suggestions. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. You're such a great mom!!

  6. So true, its best to let kids exercise their own brain power from an early age. By the time they are adults they would be so much further ahead than depending on mom or dad to problem solve everything. Aiden is blessed to have you for a mom.

  7. It is so important to let them have time to figure it out. They need to know that it is ok to try their best!

  8. self-sufficiency is best to start at a young age...kudos to you and Aiden!

  9. I don't have my own child but I've had a class room full. That is perfect what you are doing. Mommy won't always be there and having him learn at a young age is awesome! Keep it up.

  10. Oh my goodness, just had this same convo with my mom today. I decided not to send my son away to camp because I didn't have enough info close to the departure date about the trip. I spent some time discussing it with I'm last night before bed and explained what "needed" to be shared. The final thought I shared with my mom is that I'm ok with saying no and allowing him to experience disappointment. He'll grow up into a young man that can handle it in the future.

  11. Beyonce's got a point!

    It's so true. I think so many kids in the generation are so sheltered and protected that we're actually messing them up. I'm so with you on letting them get out and figure things out on their own.

    Great post!

    Lots of yummy love,
    Alex aka Ma What's For Dinner

  12. Great point! I like the idea of throwing questions back at him to get his critical thinking wheels spinning! My son is allowed to pick out his clothes sometimes and it surprises me when they actually match,lol.

  13. I agree. It's tough with boys but you have to push a little...

  14. I encourage Moo to do a lot of things on her own like putting on her shoes and getting herself to sleep w/o me rocking her.

  15. when you encourage them to try things on their own it does not make them feel as little as the world may view them. My kids learned at an early age to avoid saying "cant" and when they did say it i would follow up with "how do you know if you dont try" and it gives them the confidence to try and see what they CAN do.


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