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Four Things Your Child Needs

by Lori Sciame | September 28th, 2011 | Elementary

It goes without saying that a child needs love, and plenty of it; however, to develop into a well-adjusted adult, a child needs much more. Here are a few tips to help you raise not only a loving person, but one who is capable of tackling the world on his or her own.

1. Independence

When it’s time for a child to fly the nest, he or she needs to have developed enough independence to be able to complete this difficult journey. You can foster a child’s independence from an early age. For example, when your family goes to a restaurant, do not order for him or her – let even your shy child speak for him or herself.

As your child ages, you can present other opportunities to help build independence. What worked for my oldest child was to allow him to visit Japan with a friend when he was 13 then drive to nearby cities (after he had proven he was capable) when he was 16. Was I worried on those occasions? Yes, but my wish that he would become independent won out. It worked. By the time he was 18, he felt comfortable enough to navigate college 1,000 miles from home, and he is comfortable driving in any large city, including New York and Chicago.

2. Confidence

Independence and confidence are closely linked. A child who is independent probably has a high confidence level. You can help your elementary age child build his or her confidence by teaching useful skills. If you love to cook, teach your son or daughter how to make a few easy dishes then let him or her prepare that food for the entire family. You will be amazed at how proud a child is when he or she offers a simple fruit salad, hamburgers, and mac n cheese for all to enjoy! Another example could be teaching your child age appropriate information concerning ATV’s, boating, and/or snowmobiles. My point is – share your knowledge in a safe environment then let your child practice the skill to build confidence.

3. Honesty

“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” You may have heard this sentiment or one similar to it; it’s true, honesty should be a priority. Teach your child, from early on, that honesty is a valued trait. For example, many times children try to blame someone else for mistakes. Teach him or her that everyone makes mistakes, and that it’s best to admit the mistake right away. By teaching your child this, you are not only teaching them to be honest with others, you are teaching them to be honest with themselves.

4. Humor

Approach life with a sense of humor, and teach your child to do the same. This is because laughter can help children cope with the ups and downs of life. Watch funny shows together, play (safe) practical jokes, and smile! Humor will help your child become a resilient adult.

  1. Michele says:

    I agree! All four of these items are so important for our children. In our house, we have a policy in regards to honesty. Since my children were little, they have understood that it is far better to admit to doing something wrong than to lie. As I explained, when they lie, they have done two wrongs, which means two consequences. They have learned, for the most part, to own their mistakes and learn from them.

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