Self-Sufficient Before Seven? Teaching Your Children The Value Of Resourcefulness

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My oldest son is eight and struggles with self-sufficiency. After reading this article, I realized that I had failed him as his mother. My son was diagnosed with ADHD last summer and really struggles with self-management both at home and at school as well as problem solving skills. We really plan on working on these basic life skills over the summer with him in hopes to boost his self-confidence. I thought that this article would be helpful for any other parents whose child may be struggling with this as well. 

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One of the hardest balancing acts of being a mother is ensuring you are giving your child the essential skills for them to cope with what life throws at them. Speaking from a psychological perspective, our children learn what life is all about from their parents. And so, you've done the best you could, but still feel that there is something missing in terms of your child's development, and you beat yourself up about it. Sound familiar? But while you can't be supermom, the fundamental life skill that you can instill in your child is something that is far simpler than training them up to be superhuman. Resourcefulness, or an ability to be self-sufficient, is something that differs from person to person. For example, some people cannot grasp the concept of someone going to the movies by themselves, whereas others are more than happy in that situation. This example alone highlights people's perceptions of the ability to be resourceful and self-sufficient. So how can we develop this skill in our children?

Teach The Basic Skills
While the basic skills can be listed easily, teaching them is something that can take a long time. The common traits of resourceful people include being open-minded, imaginative, persistent in their goal pursuing, and generally positive in their self-perception and outward perceptions. This is something that is never too late to encourage. And as your children are growing up, there are little challenges you can present to them to test their abilities to be resourceful and make do with what they have. Money is one of those great commodities that we all have an opinion of and are either excellent with or spend frivolously when we don't have the cash to do so. Teaching your child the basics of money is something you can do at such a young age, and it gives them the appreciation of earning a crust early on. At this point, instilling hard work, and earning money for their efforts is a great way to encourage resourcefulness. If they want something, they are going to have to work for it. So, if you have a child that is expensive in their fashion tastes, and constantly say “I want to shop here” or “I want to shop there” for designer gear that is out of their budget, you can encourage the concept of saving up their pennies. Many parents buy items for their children, without installing the approach of it's being a consequence of a positive action. Getting your child to save up their pocket money, or find ways to earn more money is one of those great resources we all need. As children, a lot of us grew up with the attitude of getting what we want, when we want. This doesn't encourage resourcefulness in children, but rather, encourages your children to lean on you in an emotional, and financial, sense.

Encourage A Problem-Solving Mindset
Problem-solving skills are something that should be taught, but when a problem does arise, a lot of us, even as adults, buckle under the pressure. If we can encourage our children to solve problems, or apply a principled structure towards problem-solving, they can apply this to all areas of life. You can do this through five simple steps:

  1. Understand the problem

  1. Formulate a plan

  1. Carry out this plan

  1. Look back over the progress

  1. Extending the problem

By encouraging a problem-solving mindset, this is a skill that can be developed over time, and you will see so many benefits in your child. Not just in terms of their ability to solve problems, but the fact that they will tackle every issue in life with a structured and methodical approach will easily minimize stress and anxiety. The common fight or flight sensation that we all feel when encountering a problem that we deem to be impossible shouldn't be there. So if we can get this in as early as possible, resourcefulness can be applied to every single area of life, no matter how small or big the problem is.

Challenge Your Children
This can be met with conflicting views, because challenging your children can be defined in so many different ways. But, as there are parents out there that feel the approach of throwing the child into a swimming pool and letting them sink or swim is the way for them to learn, this can create so many psychological issues later on in life, and it can easily cause a fractured relationship between parent and child. Challenging your children isn't about putting them in the most extreme circumstances imaginable, but you can take the idea of their comfort zone, and gradually push it out bit by bit. This is vital, rather than putting them so far out of their comfort zone that they will be upset and develop neuroses, it's much better for us all to take them slowly outside of what they deem comfortable. For example, if your child doesn't like to walk anywhere, but would rather be carried, a small victory is getting them to do a few steps before picking them up. And you can say to yourself that if they walked 5 steps in one day, you can push it out to 6, then 7, and so on. This may take a long time to even the problem out, but once they realize that it's not life or death, this gives them the confidence they need to explore life further. We all have our own comfort zones, and it's a lesson we can all apply to our own lives, but stepping outside of it bit by bit is good for us. This is something we have to remember when teaching our kids resourcefulness.

From earning money, to solving a problem, to overcoming the challenges that life throws at us, these life skills are things that are will help your children grow and develop as they age. And while this might sound extreme, the importance of being able to rely on yourself is something we can all benefit from. If you want your child to be more resourceful, look at yourself and see if you are doing the same. Because if you are adamant that your child has certain skills, but you don't embody them yourself, then surely it's time to lead by example?

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Thanks for visiting us today. The weather is being a little odd today. Its been raining and than randomly the sun wants to come out. Hope you have a great week and are enjoying your summer so far. 

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