Our role as parents in raising conscious, contributing, caring, capable and compassionate adults is to teach, guide and support.
Teaching, guiding and supporting can come with a massive sense of responsibility and add confusion, exhaustion and overwhelm to the mix and you can see why we can think it is easier to do things for ourselves.
We encourage and teach our children about inner qualities; love, connection, patience, kindness, persistence etc…
We teach and guide in life-skills; pouring a glass of water, putting on clothes, doing chores etc…
We teach and guide emotional and social wellbeing; feelings, self-regulation, appropriate behaviours in social environments, saying goodbye, hello, please and thank you etc…
Moreover, that’s just the beginning.
Our reflex to teach, guide and support our children has a stronghold because it’s our privilege to be that for our children. However, out of LOVE and FEAR, we can fall into the trap of doing too much for them, and what I call over parenting. How do I know? Because I did it for the first few years of my son’s life and I still reflex into it on occasions when I am stressed and fearful.
When do we go from spoon feeding our child, to giving them the spoon to practise doing it for themselves?
When do we go from doing the puzzle with them to encouraging them to do it for themselves?
When do we go from taking our child’s plate to the sink when they have finished eating to encouraging our child to walk to the kitchen sink to do it for themselves?
Independence starts with awareness, and then a letting go, and the building of trust.
There is one empowering phrase that can help with being able to take a step back and encouraging your child to trust and think for themselves.
When you use this phrase, you do three empowering things for your child’s growth mindset.
1. You give your child choice awareness. By modelling patience and giving your child the opportunity of making a choice.
2. You give your child space to learn how to think.
3. You give your child the practise of asking for help.
When you use this phrase, you do three empowering things for yourself as a parent and educator.
1. You practise patience and cultivate trust and connection as you trust your child to trust themselves. This is a growth mindset in action because you are aware that the process of any skill takes opportunity first then time, practise, and effort.
2. You relinquish control and give your child a choice. It’s connection, not control that cultivates cooperation.
3. You do less and give your child confidence and independence of becoming independent where you don’t have to do it all. By giving them self-awareness and figuring out what they need at that moment, it supercharges mindset.
So here it is and remembers it’s something you need to practise too as it won’t just magically work overnight. It takes years of this phrase. I still use it with my teenage son when he is doing something super challenging. Every ounce of me want to jump in and do it, but I’ve trained myself to pause and wait and ask.
“Do you need my help, or do you need more time?”
Enjoy the freedom it gives you as a parent, eventually and over time!
Think long term.
Think effective choice-maker.
Think positive mindset.
Think of confidence and independence.
Have a magical day!