Encouraging Independence - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 06-12-2012, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
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How do you get a kid to be independent if they just don't care.  DS is only 3, but he has no desire to feed himself, dress himself, or do most anything else for himself.  I bet I could count on one hand the number of times I've heard him say "no, I want to do it."  Isn't that supposed to be the hallmark of the 2 year old - Me Do It!   He would be perfectly content if I carried him out of bed, dressed him like an infant, spoon fed him, fixed every problem he ever had.  It's not that he doesn't desire to do certain things, but he doesn't desire to do anything that is a tiny bit frustrating or needs practice.  What to do!?


He doesn't seem to be motivated by watching other kids accomplish these things themselves, and there isn't anything he wants long enough or bad enough to set up sticker charts or anything like that.  How do I help him develop internal motivation? 

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#2 of 5 Old 06-12-2012, 12:29 PM
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Some kids are slow to start that.  We have friends whose kids have been dressing themselves since they were a little over a year old.  Ds didn't really start until after 4.  When I felt frustrated about it I would often say "When he's 16 he won't even want to talk to me anymore."


 Also I find humor is a pretty concrete way to get kids involved.  For instances, trying desperately to put his shirt on as pants.  Or trying to put his shirt on you.  Putting socks on hands etc.  They usually laugh and scream "NO it goes xxx" and then you say "No way that would never work, you could not put your head through this hole (holding up a shirt)" and lo and behold they will often show you that they can, just to prove you wrong!!!!

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#3 of 5 Old 06-12-2012, 05:03 PM
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My ds is like that to an extreme. He's still happy to have me put on his shoes or pull his shirt over his head... But he can do it and never had any developmental issues. He only just started wanting to brush his own teeth this year. Yes, he's 10. I think a little of it stems from perfectionist issues. He'd rather not try until he's sure he can do it competently. Another issue is that he feels unloved and rejected if I don't help him if he asks. So it's problematic. I could be a hard-ass and make him do things on his own and have him feel rejected. Or I could help him when he asks because that's what family does. In turn, I ask him for help and expect him to help me.


There was one thing I did do regularly, but only when he wasn't tired or hungry (prone to frustration).  I would not drop what I was doing to help him. I'd tell him I'd be happy to help him when I was done doing whatever I was doing or he could do it himself while he was waiting. So he heard that I'd help him (AKA that I loved him) while also hearing that he could do it. Sometimes, I'd give him part of the thing to do while I did the other part so we were working together. I can see he's getting to the point (finally, lol) where he thinks he could do it better than me and that I don't do things "right." 


All those things your ds does want to do will eventually translate into self care. Playing with tools will make him adept at using utensils. Building with legos will make doing buttons easy. Etc.

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#4 of 5 Old 06-15-2012, 03:21 AM
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pranava give him some time.


that might be his personality.


as pp said he probably is the type that starts slow and then catches on.


dd was miss Independence, but her same age bf was sooo not. his independence kicked in when he turned 6.


at 7 you could not tell the difference between dd and her bf. which kid had been independent all her life and which kid caught on late. 


i grew up in asia, and we werent expected to do any of that till we started K. 


even today at almost 10 years old there are times when i feed dd, and i also put out her clothes for her. 

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#5 of 5 Old 07-01-2012, 01:01 AM
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I agree with the above. Give him time and it might be just his personality.

DS is the same way. Very slow to warm up.

And also, like meemee, I grew up in Asia. With nannies. Everything was done for us by our nannies. So I guess I had much lesser expectation of independence when it came to my own children.

However, I have noticed that when the situation arises wherein he has to be independent (i.e. in school where I am not around), he does an excellent job of it.

He's never forgotten things at school. He's never lost mittens/socks/hats/jackets. He is very meticulous when it comes to being responsible for his own things and himself.

So in a way I feel that my DS is very independent but maybe he just allows himself some down time when he's home.

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