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There has been a lot of talk over the last year about “helicopter parents,” parents who hover over their children and swoop in before or at the slightest hint of discomfort, challenge, or threat of failure. It’s developmentally appropriate for children to become more and more independent, self reliant and responsible as they age. Powerful parents know that while they want their children to succeed, there is great value in making mistakes and learning from them. It can be challenging for parents to know when to step back and let their children try something on their own.
Laundry, shoe-tying, packing their own bags, making the bed, and are great places to start. Of course, when children truly need your help, they should know that they can count on you.
My mother always used to sing to me whenever I fell down; “just pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and start all over again!” I still hear it in my head when I’ve made a blunder. Sometimes that means watching and learning from you and other times, that means watching and encouraging them to figure it out on their own. A Controversial Website for Girls Fun Spring Activities for Children: All in one place! After all, from the time their children were babies, parents have spent years meeting many to all of their child’s needs.

If you teach them to ask for help when they really need it (when something seems unsafe or too challenging), they should know that you will be there to assist them. You can even work on a checklist together which helps to break down the task into easy, age-appropriate chunks.
Striking a balance between allowing your children to do tasks for themselves and helping them when they seem to need or want is a talent of very powerful parents. As children get older, you can allow them to make more important decisions with little to no guidance.
Learning how to cook and becoming solely responsible for their own homework are tasks older children should master. If you and your spouse are used to dividing up the labor, especially if they’re divided down traditional gender lines, your children may assume that “girls can’t do this” or “boys shouldn’t do that.” Show your boys that a girl can change a lightbulb and fix the flusher on the toilet and boys can clean the dishes and do laundry! What would happen if you did Y instead?” These questions can unlock the answers in your own child’s brain so the next time he’s in a similar situation he’ll be able to call on his own experience and judgment to make a decision.
When children know they can count on you when they’re really in need, they’ll feel more secure about taking healthy risks and making mistakes. For example, (1) Take the clothes out of the dryer, (2) Separate the clothes by family member, (3) Match up all the socks…and so on.
This balance allows their children to thrive because they feel more confident in themselves while still feeling supported and properly mentored.

They can determine which activities in which they would like to engage, if they need a tutor for math, and which friends they’d like to spend time with each day without needing much, if any, input from parents.
When children express a desire to engage in a task, if it’s safe, be sure to let them participate. Providing responsibilities which allow the children to show self reliance and responsibility will indeed build self reliance and responsibility. While it’s tempting to make these kinds of decisions for your older children, they need to learn from their own mistakes and stand on their own two feet—after all, their decisions are often correct! Again, while it may not be done as well as if you had done it yourself, praise the effort and the initiative and allow your children to try it again next time. However, when parents do this, they rob their children of some very powerful tools; perseverance, confidence, and yes, self reliance.

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