The Self-Reliance Cycle--

Here is how we are going to get the behavior problems turned

We are now going to reduce dependency by fostering self-
reliance ...the self-reliance cycle goes like this:

1. We want to bond with our children and we want them to be
happy and responsible for their behavior and choices.

2. So, we help our children “
learn to earn.”  We help our
children purchase material things with their own money (e.g.,
from an allowance, money earned by doing chores, money
earned from their place of employment, etc.)...

...and, we help our children earn freedom (e.g., by following
rules, doing chores, accepting appropriate discipline for
misbehavior, meeting reasonable parental expectations).

3. This helps children develop self-reliance which, in turn, boosts
emotional development, reduces their resentment, sense of
entitlement, and their addictive appetite for more stuff and

4. Consequently, we as parents feel bonded to our children –
and seem to be happier AND more responsible!

Click below for a
Power Point Presentation (turn your speaks up)

==> The Progression Towards Self-Reliance
The Self-Reliance Cycle--
Instructional Video #12
CLICK HERE for the handout on Self-Reliance

Dear Parents,

Assertive parenting is our primary goal as parents. As
we adopt a more assertive approach with our kids, we
find that they begin to develop
self-reliance. And as you
are discovering,
self-reliance is key!

Assertive parents are both
demanding and responsive.
They monitor and impart clear standards for their
children’s conduct. They are
controlling, but not
. They actively participate in the child's life.
Their disciplinary methods are supportive, rather than
punitive. They want their children to be assertive, socially
responsible, self-regulated and cooperative.

Here are some examples:

Demanding and responsive— Jenny must clean her
room; it's a mess! She wants to play baseball with her
friends at 10:00 in the morning. Her assertive parents
adhere to the demand, but are responsive to her needs.
They determine that Jenny must clean the room
sometime today or stay in tomorrow until it is done. This
approach gives the child some decision-making and
time-management experience. The goal is achieved
without bitterness, repression, or punishment.

Controlling, but not restrictive— Giving 5-year-olds a
choice between two alternatives allows them some
autonomy, while the parents control the situation. For
example: "Shall we go swimming, or for a hike in the
woods?" …"Would you like peas or carrots for dinner
tonight?" …"Shall we take your bath before or after

Actively participate in the child's life— Lyle's mother is
a working single parent with little free time, but she
includes Lyle in her chores. They go shopping together
and make a game of it; they read the mail together; they
even make dinner together, although it takes extra time
and creates more of a mess. During these times, they
talk about their days. Lyle gets a bedtime story on
weekends. Lyle receives the message that his mother
cares about him and that she will be there when needed.

Arbitrary rules have no place in the assertive household.
The parents will always make the final call. The assertive
parent leads by example, realizing that she is a role
model to her children. But the assertive parent also
acknowledges that no one is perfect, least of all himself
or his children – and is willing to openly apologize when
a situation requires it.

As a result of the love and mutual respect shown in an
assertive household, the number of conflicts will be
minimal. Consequences will be rare. When they are
required, consequences will consist mainly of natural
and logical consequences.

The assertive parent:

·        Believes in developing a close and nurturing
relationship with her children while also upholding and
maintaining a reasonably high level of expectations and
rules or guidelines.

·        Develops clear and fair behavioral guidelines for
her children. These guidelines are age appropriate and
flexible, taking into consideration special circumstances,
personality styles and changes that might occur. In other
words, the rules are clear and consistent, but not rigid.

·        Encourages a child's growing sense of autonomy
by slowly increasing the freedoms allowed to the child
based on the child's maturity, responsibility and
trustworthiness. An assertive parent's goal is to prepare
children to live fully autonomous lives upon adulthood.

·        Is a good listener and respects that her relationship
with her child is a two-way relationship. She may even
encourage her children to make a good argument for her
to consider before making a final decision on a heated

·        Operates on the belief that both the child and the
parent have certain rights and that the needs of both are
important. The parent is sure that she is in control and
doesn't need to assert physical force to keep the child on
the right track. Rather, an assertive parent is more likely
to control her child by setting rules and explaining why
these rules are important and why they must be followed.

Assertive parenting, which balances clear, high parental
demands with emotional responsiveness and
recognition of child autonomy, is one of the most
consistent family predictors of competence from early
childhood through adolescence.

Children raised in assertive families generally do well in
school, benefiting from parental interest and active
involvement from an early age. These children are used
to seeing their parents attending sports events, music
recitals and school conferences. The parents offer
support and help with school and other problems. They
expect their children to work to their potential. These
families discuss problems and find solutions together,
whether it be limiting playtime so that homework can get
finished, or using a contract or school journal so that the
parent can track assignments.

What type of parent is really good at fostering the development
of self-reliance
in their child?  The assertive parent is. Let's see
where you're at on the parenting-continuum.


Are you mostly aggressive, assertive, moderately passive, or
extremely passive?

1. You are at your wits end with the squabbling and
bickering that goes on between your two children. How
do you handle it

Aggressive: I yell and them and tell them they are grounded for
the whole week.

Assertive: I sit the children down and talk to them about how
upsetting their behavior is while offering them other options for
resolving their difficulties – as well warning them about the
consequences for NOT resolving their difficulties.

Moderately Passive: I try to ignore it and block the noise from
my ears. Kids will be kids and this is the way that my brother
and I used to behave.

Extremely Passive: I defer to my husband since the children will
listen to him.

2. You are hosting a summer cookout at your home this
weekend. You could really use a lot of help getting ready.
How do you involve your children?

Aggressive: Since I can’t get my kids to lift a finger to help, I
get angry and call the whole thing off – the cookout is cancelled!

Assertive: I assign specific tasks for each one of my children,
but allow them to request other assignments if the task proves
to be too difficult.

Moderately Passive: I ask if any of my children want to help,
but I don't assign any specific tasks.

Extremely Passive: I ask each one of my children what they
would like to eat at the cookout so I can shop for them.

3. Your husband's sister is always nagging you about
setting limits on your children's behavior. How do you
respond to her?

Aggressive: I tell my sister-in-law to keep her damn mouth
shut and mind her own business.

Assertive: I say something like," I realize that everyone has
differences of opinion. I know that I have set limits on my
children's behavior, but I do not run my home the same way
you do."

Moderately Passive: I let her ramble on and make
noncommittal comments.

Extremely Passive: I agree with everything she says outwardly,
but inside I am seething.

4. Your child has just broken the large picture window in
the family room with a ball. She is ok, but you clearly told
her not to throw things in the home. What do you do?

Aggressive: I clean up the mess myself after spanking her and
sending her to her room.

Assertive: I ask her to get the broom and dustpan, and we
clean up the mess together. After we clean up, we sit down and
talk about how much worse the situation could have been.

Moderately Passive: I calm my child's fears by telling her that it
is okay and that I love her.

Extremely Passive: I let it slide since it was clearly an accident.

5. If someone asked your children how they would
describe you, they would call you:

Aggressive: Bitch

Assertive: Leader

Moderately Passive: Forgiving mother

Extremely Passive: Pushover

6. The rules and weekly chores for your children are:

Aggressive: All rules are followed and all chores are completed.
If not, I nag my children and threaten to ground them for two

Assertive: Written on a weekly chart that the children mark
when they complete them.

Moderately Passive: A fluctuating entity from one week to the
next depending on my mood and theirs.

Extremely Passive: Nonexistent.

7. When the summer break begins, which scenario is most
likely to occur at your home?

Aggressive: My children will really get on my nerves. I will be
glad when the summer is over and they return to school. I will
grow very tired of yelling at them due to their constant fighting
and bickering.

Assertive: We will have set schedules for certain days of the
week that will include activities and chores.

Moderately Passive: We will decide what happens one day at a

Extremely Passive: My children will relax, ask for sleep-overs
and let me know what it is that they want to do.

8. When your child misbehaves, which scenario is most
likely to occur?

Aggressive: I slap my child and send him to his bedroom.

Assertive: My child and I will sit and discuss what happened,
how to do it better next time, and what the consequences will be
in the future if the misbehavior continues.

Moderately Passive: I tell my child that it is okay and that no
punishment is necessary as long as no one got hurt.

Extremely Passive: I ignore the situation and life continues in
much the same manner as always.

9. Your child tells you what he would like to do over the
weekend. What do you do?

Aggressive: I tell him that he can’t do anything over the
weekend because he is still grounded from two weeks ago.

Assertive: I ask my child to help me figure out how we can do
some of his plans while still allowing mine to happen.

Moderately Passive: I ask my child if he has any other plans
that I should know about before I rearrange my schedule.

Extremely Passive: I rearrange my plans to accommodate him.

10. You would like some help in the kitchen. How would
you handle it?

Aggressive: I would tell my child that he can help or go without
dinner tomorrow.  

Assertive: I ask who is going to wash the dishes and who is
going to dry the dishes.

Moderately Passive: I ask if anyone would like to help.

Extremely Passive: I wish that I had the money to hire a maid.

11. While in the grocery store, your son starts whining
because he wants a candy bar, so you:

Aggressive: Tell him to “shut up!”

Assertive: Tell him no, but explain that you will bring him back
to buy it when he saves enough of his allowance.

Moderately Passive: Buy it so that he doesn't have a tantrum.

Extremely Passive: But two candy bars -- one to keep him
occupied in the grocery and another to keep him occupied for
the trip home.

12. The main goal of parenting and discipline is to:

Aggressive: Get your kids to listen to you -- no matter what!

Assertive: Teach your children why rules are important and help
them learn to make good choices on their own.

Moderately Passive: Make sure everyone is happy and

Extremely Passive: Avoid being too strict because it may
damage the child's self-esteem -- and to provide her/him with
the things you didn't have as a child.
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