The 7 Secrets of Successful Parents
One of the best gifts you can give your child is to help him understand that he's responsible for the choices he makes as well as the consequences of his actions, and ultimately, his own happiness. The first step toward building self-reliance: Offer your child choices that are right for his age. Toddlers are capable of picking what they want for breakfast or which shirt to wear (as long as you give them two choices). A 3-year-old can also pitch in and do simple chores -- helping you pick up toys or unload the dishwasher, for instance. Delegating these tasks not only lets your preschooler make a contribution to your household, but teaches him accountability.
The next step: Encourage your child to tackle new skills, like riding a trike or reading a story aloud. If he makes mistakes, let him work through them instead of rushing in to fix things. You'll promote a sense of competence, and he'll learn to weigh consequences before acting.
When he faces inevitable setbacks and failures, help him discover how to look for solutions rather than view such obstacles as beyond his control. If your toddler cries when another child takes his toy, for example, say, "Let's go see if she'll give it back." Or if your preschooler tells you he has no friends, you can show him, through role-playing, ways to ask other kids to play, or together invite someone to come visit.
Lastly, encourage your child to think, even if his opinions differ from your own. You'll free him from a fear of disapproval that will make him less dependent on others for his happiness.