No Capes

Parenting.  So much to love. So much that is humbling.

 

It’s ironic isn’t it, that the very thing that compels us to astonishing actions to protect our children from harm – that parenting instinct that we see depicted over and over again in myth, story, legend, and commercials – can also be the very thing that is a huge barrier if we want our children to thrive, grow, and learn to be resilient. 

 

It really is a matter of balance.  Of course there are times we cannot let our children fail – instances where if we did, they (or others) would come to physical harm or irreparable damage. 

 

We have all heard of the helicopter parents, and now the Zamboni parents – who clear the ice and smooth everything out ahead of their child.  It is not news that this type of parenting does not allow our kids to learn resilience, important social skills, compromise, problem-solving on their own, or a host of other important skills. I am sure you all know someone who engages in this type of parenting.

 

But what about the subtler things?  What might you be doing that you don’t even realize is interrupting your child’s developmental learning? Because you are doing things that are expressions of love in trying to help them feel better, or trying to help them solve a problem – so what is wrong with that?

Use these questions to know if your best intentions are unknowingly doing too much for your child.

 

What is the difference between helping with homework and fostering a kind of learned helplessness? Do you find you are asking your child questions and then somehow answering them yourself as they stall with phrases such as ‘I’m not sure’ or ‘the teacher wasn’t really clear about that’?  

Can your child describe to you how they study and why it works?  Or do you guide the studying process before a test? How much helping is not actually helping?

 

Are you finding that praising your child does not seem to be helping their confidence or self-esteem? Are you instead seeing a decline in their emotionality, even though they have everything they need and you are a thousand percent supportive? What emotions are you wrestling with as you see your attempts at supporting and helping them are not working, in fact your attempts seem to be making it worse.

 

Here’s the deal – there is a difference between helping and rescuing. And there is a time when helping doesn’t look like helping – it actually looks like waiting, quietly being present, and being ready to witness and empathize with the aftermath. It looks like letting someone else be the source of inspiration, validation, and support that your child needs – not you.

 

So, how do you know?  If you are tangled up in all the ineffective rescuing, over-helping, best-intentioned, loving but no longer effective problem-solving… what next?

 

Give us a call, we will sort out your helping/rescuing/fixing and find the ways to keep it in balance.  We all want to be the super-hero for our kids in some way… but we need to find that balance. Because there is a way to still be the superhero – without wearing the cape.

 

Edna Mode.  She had a few things right.