As a parent, all you want is for your child to be happy and safe as they grow and develop. While it is difficult to watch them fly the nest, as long as they can look after themselves, you can rest easy.
However, there is no guarantee that they can look after themselves when they grow up.
In fact, teaching your child self-reliance is one of the most valuable lessons they will ever learn. It will stay with them for the rest of their life, and give you the peace of mind that they can handle themselves in the outside world.
The problem is that while self-reliance is a skill that can be learned, the older your child becomes, the harder it is to teach. Nipping it in the bud while they’re young is the best course of action.
Here’s how to teach your child self-reliance from an early age:
Consider boarding school
Deciding which school to send your child to is tough. This decision process is made doubly hard when you weigh up the pros and cons of boarding school.
Education is a personal decision, but one major benefit of a high-performing boarding school is that it teaches self-reliance at an early age. For example, living away from home is a major step for any child, but having them take that step early on will increase their confidence and feeling of independence.
Boarding school also forces children to learn valuable social skills, as they are physically interacting with other pupils and teachers each and every day.
The ability for your child to have a healthy respect for their comfort zones without being bound by them is one of the most powerful lessons they will ever learn.
Embrace the great outdoors
This is a fun way to teach your children self-reliance.
By immersing your family in the wilderness from time to time – either on camping trips, sailing lessons, kayaking, or mountain biking – you put them in touch with all manner of practical skills, comfort zone testing risks, and exciting new adventures. It demonstrates to them the fun you can have getting out of your comfort zone, learning new things, and pursuing the most rewarding endeavors rather than the easiest.
Don’t be afraid of them learning hard lessons
This is a crucial step in your parenting, but a brutal one. While your instincts will scream at you to protect your child from any pain they will experience, it can actually cause more damage than good. For instance, think back to your own childhood. You likely remember the many heartbreaks, disappointments, irrational fears,and setbacks you experienced. On the whole, while these events were not enjoyable at the time, they built you into a stronger, wiser, and kinder person. Your child should not have their right to experience the same lessons taken away from them.
Be the best role model you can be
Leading by example is one of the best ways you can teach your child self-reliance. If you fail to take care of yourself or your child, you can’t expect them to take care of themselves later in life.
Become a walking embodiment (to the best of your abilities) of the qualities you would like to see your child develop. Being strong, controlled, measured, kind, and generous will rub off on your child. Acting irrationally, aggressively or weak will, by the same measure, reflect themselves in your child’s own behavior.