In the field of parenting, the topic of developing self-sufficient children is too often neglected. Experts as diverse as parenting specialist Jim Faye and New York Times bestselling author and motivation expert Daniel Pink recognize the extreme importance of self-sufficient children. Effectively developing self-sufficient children has tremendous benefits ranging from increased compliance with rules, higher self-esteem and development of good decision-making skills.
Starting The Process To Create Self-Sufficient Children
But how does one start the process of creating self-sufficient children? Given complete autonomy wouldn’t children choose to not go to school, eat cookies for every meal and stay up until 2 A.M.? Simply put, yes they would. That’s certainly not self-sufficient children. Therefore what needs to take place to create self-sufficient children is what I refer to as PICA: Parents Implementing Controlled Autonomy (Copyright, Jeffrey Kranzler, 2012).
Application Of Technique To Create Self-Sufficient Children
The concept behind PICA in the creation of self-sufficient children is simple. A parent gives autonomy to their children within limits that they set in hopes of creating self-sufficient children. They provide a set range of options, all of which would be acceptable to them, and allow their child to choose within that range of options.
Consider the following situation: A parent demands that their child finish their chores immediately. The child delays, gets distracted, argues with the parent, and a conflict ensues. And when there is conflict, regardless of whether a parent wins, they still lose. They have expended energy and become irritated. Most often they have taken a negative tone, and either explicitly given or implied negative messages to their child.
Providing Options To Create Self-Sufficient Children
Let’s try that situation again, this time using PICA. Here, the parent will sit down with their child and provide a range of options regarding the chores. What kind of options? That depends on what you think might be the most effective for you and your child in your particular situation.
- One could ask the child to choose which chores they would like to do
- One could allow them to choose the time in which the chore is to be done (and having a set time when chores are to be done itself greatly increases compliance)
- A child could choose the reward for completing the task on time
- A child could choose a consequences for failing to accomplish the chore during the appointed time
The more a child’s input is involved, the more ownership of the action they will have.
Children Crave Rules And Consistency
This method complements another key concept in child rearing. Children crave rules and consistency. While children may not like your rules, or at least express this sentiment, they are unhappier when there are no boundaries, or when boundaries and rules are unclear or frequently change. By adding the element of autonomy they not only receive the rules they crave, they internalize the rule and feel a sense of control. This combination is incredibly powerful and leads to happiness, confidence and self-sufficient children.