Are you Raising Self-sufficient Kids?

By Brittany Stewart

by Danielle Dolin

There’s and App for That – But, not for Self-Sufficient Kids.

In an era where there is an app for everything and Google has all the answers, how do you know if you are raising self-sufficient, independent children? I mean you don’t just want your children to be able to navigate across town without the guidance of a GPS, but you also want them to be able to act independently when a situation arises. Or maybe to be able to accurately balance their accounts, without and app – that’s a good one.

For goodness sake you can unlock and start your car with an app, look in your fridge from an app, change the temperature of your house using an app. From daily planners to guided meditations, workouts to food deliveries, finance, recipes, sleep trackers and more,… seemingly everything’s now available in app form. But, not our children’s self-sufficiency – if were raising them right.

The disturbing reality is that a lot of children don’t even know how to make themselves a sandwich by the age of five or six. This is in part because of parent’s fear of making messes or getting hurt. However, parent oversight and aiding in clean-up take only a second and once understood, your kiddos will be master sandwich makers!

So, how do you know if you are raising self-sufficient kiddos, anyway? There’s no app for that. Raising a self-sufficient child involves more than just teaching kids life skills. Self-sufficiency isabout strengthening your child’s sense of inner-self and encouraging them to think and act independently, apart from their peers.

Raising self-sufficient kiddos means letting go of some control and being ok with it. It’s a balancing act of pass and fail; of trial and error.

Here are some things to consider when raising self-sufficient children:

House Management

Is everyone in your house (including kids) responsible for picking up their own messes and belongings? If your children leave their shoes in the hall, do they pick them up and put them away? Do you clean their toys up or do they? Do your children make their own beds? Depending on age, do they know how to complete a load of laundry? A well-managed home, means the family works together. Teaching your children this at a young age will pore over into their careers later on.

All children should be participating in household chores regularly. From doing dishes to folding laundry, children of all ages can help with household chores and should!

Making meals can be something all children can take part in. From easy pancake breakfasts to following a Ratatouille recipe as they mature, children need to learn how to cook. Otherwise, they will be dependent upon an app, drive-through, and spending a ton of money.


Do you bail out your kids if they forget their belongings? For example, if your daughter forgets her ballet shoes for practice and is not allowed in the classroom, do you race home and grab them for her, buy another pair at the studio, or let her sit out and suffer the consequences of being unprepared? If your answer was the last choice, then you are on the right track. Bailing your kiddos out is a terrible mistake to make if you want to raise self-sufficient children who are accountable for their own actions.

Another example is with school work. Do you review your child’s homework and make corrections for them so they get better grades? Or are you the type of parent to remind perhaps, but the follow through is up to your children? If you are the last type, then you are again on the right track. A little reminder is always ok, but ultimately, they should be responsible for their own work. The only thing they will learn from you correcting their mistakes is that they don’t have to work very hard.


Tantrums can happen at any age. The determination if you are raising self-sufficient children depends on how you handle them, though. When Johnny throws a tantrum in the grocery store, kicking and screaming, because he wants the box of M&M’s and you said “No”. What do you do? Let him continue disrupting others? Leave the cart and walk out? Give in to him to shut him up? Seriously. Raising a self-sufficient kiddo would mean that the parent would set a consequence for the behavior if the tantrum did not stop immediately and no, Johnny does not get the M&M’s. The same applies to a disrespectful teen. A teen who slams the door in your face because they don’t get to go out with friends since they haven’t finished their chores, is throwing a tantrum. Do you give in because you feel bad, add extra chores to the list for the disrespectful behavior, or have a conversation with them about their actions? A self-sufficient child would be one that is held accountable for their actions.

Nurturing self-sufficient children takes patience. A lot of patience. It is much harder to raise self-sufficient kiddos because it takes more diligence and work up-front. Just like it is much easier to make a batch of cookies alone than to do it with your kids! The process is quicker, cleaner, and cookies probably look much prettier. But, in the long run doing things like this with your children will give them the skills and confidence they need to become self-sufficient later on.

Remember, it is important to be both kind and firm when disciplining your child. In addition, striving for a deep connection with your child and showing empathy are essential. Taking the extra time to connect will go far later on when tough moments and topics arise. Do not fear to set boundaries and moral standards; as these will most likely be replicated in your children’s lives as they grow into adults. What you expect from them; they will expect from others.

Providing your child with opportunities to be independent and make mistakes, strengthens their confidence. Let them spill the milk as they try to poor it in the bowl and make cereal for the family. Milk can be cleaned. Applaud them for their hard work and determination. As your child is permitted to demonstrate responsibility through chores and other activities their self-esteem is sure to blossom.

The basic life skills these Apps are replacing, such as time management, organization, money management, among others will be assets for the self-sufficient child you are raising. Every time you teach a life skill, you know it will take time and patience for your child to master it, you’re your child will thank you. Never forget that kids want their parents to provide them with boundaries as well as loving support and connection. You’re doing both right now just by reading this and reflecting and this will be invaluable to your child as they grow and mature. Much more valuable than any app ever could.

Brittany Stewart, an accomplished writer and educator, draws inspiration from her 23-year marriage and upbringing near Lake Tahoe in Verdi, Nevada, now residing in Tucson, Arizona. With her Bachelor’s degree in Education, emphasizing Native American Literature and Journalism, Brittany is a multifaceted professional who is also a Licensed Massage Therapist. She is deeply involved in Tucson’s homeschooling community, leading a homeschool group, teaching dance, and offering art classes. She and her family have a homestead in Southern Arizona, where her husband hunts and she tends to the garden, emphasizing the importance of God and family in her life while continually seeking adventure through her travels.

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