Children who are overly self reliant

Another extract from my book

In order for children to develop a sense of independence and ability to depend on themselves it helps if they have had an experience of being able to depend on an adult who has responded appropriately to their needs. For a child who has not had this experience or it has been inconsistent, it can feel terrifying to both ask for help and be able to receive it. These children have learned to be overly reliant on themselves as a way of feeling safe and will need plenty of support to change this behaviour. They may think ‘I can only rely on myself.’ The challenge for these children is to trust that an adult will consistently support them and to understand that it is acceptable to ask for help from others.

 Strategies for children who are overly reliant on themselves:

● Understand that they have learned to do this as a way of feeling safe and ensure you do not take over or invade their space; for example, provide opportunities for them to work near you so they can access you easily and you can monitor whether they need help.

● Identify their need to do things for themselves and reflect on what it may feel like to change this; for example, ‘I can see you are struggling to get that jigsaw piece in, I wonder what it would feel like if I helped you with it?’

● Let them lead their relationship with you and gradually access help in their own time and at their own pace by gentle reminders that you are available and willing to help them; for example, ‘You are working very hard building that model; remember I can help you at any time if you need it.’

● Provide strong messages that validate it’s ok to ask for help; for example, ‘Even adults need help with things sometimes and it’s ok to ask for what we need.’

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