Q&A: How to Handle “I Can Do It Myself!”

Question: My 3-year-old son wants to do things for himself even if he really cannot, and then throws a fit whenever I need to help him. For example, the other morning he wanted to put his socks on and I allowed him to try for awhile. After letting him try for 10 minutes, we needed to go. I had to wrestle him to the floor to get his socks on. Please help.

Answer: Good training always begins with good communication. For this reason, communicate to your child that God has put mommy and daddy in charge of this family. Explain to him, “That means we are in charge of you and your siblings while you are here with us. It’s great that you want to try new things, but God placed me in your life to help you whenever necessary. If I see that you need help and offer it, you need to accept my help. If you do not let me help you, there will be consequences. If you get upset with me, then you will be limited in attempting more things for yourself.”

Be positive and consistent with your instructions. Encourage your child to accomplish those things you know he can do and to ask for assistance with those things he cannot. Let him know if there is a set time or deadline in which a task needs to be completed.

In addition, you may want to take the time to explain that when someone does not accept needed help he is being prideful. God dislikes pride, because it causes people to think they are self-sufficient (Proverbs 11:2). A prideful person does not think he needs God nor relies on Him.

Training your child to be humble in all he does will help him discern when to receive necessary wisdom and assistance.

2 Comments
  1. Thank you Carla! I’m not a mom, but as an assistant teacher and perfectionist, I have trouble with this.

    There are some things that little kids (or even ikids) just can’t handle. Positivity is key. None of us should want to be totally self-sufficient because then we won’t get to experience the gift of God in our lives! How nice to be reminded that it doesn’t have to be perfect in my eyes. Just His.

  2. What a great post! I am going to show this to a friend who is having some issues with this right now!

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