How my son’s curiosity is helping me to prepare his way to self-reliance

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Nathaniel is learning how to loosen the screw of his toy car.

When Nathaniel started to learn to walk, his curiosity also increased as he can now move from one place to another. I noticed he was a keen observer and often learned things on his own. He disliked it much when you’re going to teach or demonstrate right before him how a particular thing should be done unless he will ask you how to do it for him.

So you have to wait and let him do it all by himself first. He’s going to ask you many questions though and even test you with a reverse psychology method. Like, for example, one time he asked me about the image of St. Michael the archangel I pasted at the main door.

I told him that’s an angel. He continued to ask me about some other objects and I patiently answered him one by one. Then he asked me again about the image of St. Michael.

This time I told him he’s St. Michael. He asked me again if who was that winged creature in the picture.  I told him he’s St. Michael. Until the third time he asked me about it and I told him the same.

He then said to me, “That was an angel”. While such an attitude may be right for my son, not all children are the same. Each child is unique so you as a parent must use a different approach for each child.

You cannot just use the same method for all your children but you have to find the right formula for each one of them. The following are what I’ve come up which I may share to other parents as well, base from a personal experience, on how my son’s curiosity is helping me to prepare his way to self-reliance:

BE THE GOOD EXAMPLE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR CHILDREN

Children, especially toddlers, are great imitators. So that even when you don’t care exerting an effort teaching them anything, they will still learn from what they see in you. You may or may not notice it, you’re teaching them by your examples.

Every little facet of what is your behavior will be copied and infused into their system. So it is very important for parents to set as good examples before their children. The way you want your children to behave, act, or think, depends a lot on you. Showing them how self-reliable you are, they, too, will.

LET YOUR CHILDREN BE, BUT BE THEIR GUIDE

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My son learns how to light a candle all by himself.

Give your children the freedom to explore what’s around them, but see to it that you’re always there ready to guide and protect him or her. This is where I’m learning most as a father to my son who just turned three years old a little over a week ago. Before, I’m always particularly conscious so that I would become so hesitant of what my son was stepping on and what he’s grabbing up in his hands.

It’s easy to say the word “no” or “don’t” without knowing or being aware of the fact that he’s yet to learn to know everything. Every effort I exerted to restrict him, I would only get a feeling of disgust in return. I decided to change the way I’m doing it.

So every time he grabs a spoon to feed himself now, I let him do it. I realized that if I always do it for him or if I disallow him from doing so, he will never learn it by himself at all. Yet, in the long run, it is important for a child to develop the ability to choose between right and wrong.

It will take time. It is to start in the delicate process of character building. You don’t have to rush on it.

EXPOSE YOUR CHILD TO A LEARNING ENVIRONMENT SUITED FOR HIS OR HER AGE

It is important to know that a child gets his or her first education at home. You, as a parent, are his or her first teacher. Teach him how to draw using a pencil and to color it with crayons.

It’s a good sign that your children wants to do it all by themselves. Read him bed time story books. Teach him nursery rhyme songs.

Take a walk with him or her in the park where some children are playing. Sing with him or dance with him. Let him play with other children but make sure you’re there to monitor his every move lest he gets into the trap of being influenced by a bad company.

ACCEPT YOUR CHILDREN AS THEY ARE

It is not enough to say you love your children. You have got to find ways to make them feel it. It all starts in accepting them for who and what they are.

They must feel your acceptance of them. You must appreciate their individual worth as a person. When you learn to accept them unconditionally, you’re giving them something both of you would truly gain from: self-respect.

When your child learns to respect himself, only then he is capable of reciprocating the kind of love you have for him.

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