When our kids are learning to walk, sometimes we let them fall. They need to fall to figure out how to walk and how to get back up. It helps them develop the confidence they need to walk and then get better at it.
We spend so much time when our children are small doing every single thing for them. We have to, because they simply can’t do it themselves. But then we must unwind that thinking and give our children the space to do things for themselves.
There are legions of stories of young adults who are incapable of doing anything from balancing a checkbook, to finding a job, because their overinvolved and overindulgent parents routinely did those things for them. Now, those kids are struggling because they don’t know how to deal with failure. So while it’s easier in the short term to do basically everything for our children, it can have disastrous long-term consequences. Here are some ways to stop coddling your kids.
1. At the Park, Don’t Hover
Let them play — within reason. If they’re clearly too small for an activity, don’t let them do it, or try to guide them.
2. If They Have a Dispute With Another Child, Stand Back
Wait to see if they can resolve it on their own.
3. Don’t Answer Questions for Them
Let them use their developing brains to find the answer.
4. Don’t Tie Their Shoes for Them
Or brush their teeth, or cut their food when they can do it themselves.
5. Don’t Try to Set Them Up for Play Dates, Or Later in Life, Dates
Making friends and dating are hard enough as an adult, so let them socialize with other kids on their own while it's still easy.
6. Don’t Do Their Homework
They need to think and complete assignments for themselves in order to graduate.
7. Don’t Send Important Emails for Them
They need to learn how to do this on their own for jobs, scholarships, or other important events in their lives.
Sure, we all want our kids to be successful and have opportunities, but there is a fine line between doing things for them and showing them how to do it on their own.
Encourage them to try things first. If they fail, help them or show them how to do it right. Then, let them try again. It might take more time depending on the situation, but the lessons learned are invaluable. Your children might whine and complain and resist. That’s because they know it’s easier on them if you take on the workload. But if that occurs, nothing is ventured and nothing is gained.
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