Today my son got a new toy (shhh… don’t tell my husband…).
So when we got home to Grandma’s house, he wanted to open it. i said, “Sure.” He set about happily opening it. But got kinda stuck at the last part. Grandma wanted to help him but i told her he can manage. And he did after a bit more struggle.
That was a very very tiny event. But it reminded me of this article: Please Don’t Help My Kids – Kate Bassford Baker’s Blog – Alameda, CA Patch.
i completely agree with her. Kids need to learn that they have the ability to do whatever it is they need or want to get done. They just have to push themselves just that little bit harder, try again.
That has always been the spirit which we try to instill in our little guy (not so little anymore, i have to constantly remind myself).
We don’t buy every toy he wants. He saves his own money and buys some of his toys himself. (Doting grandparents buy a fair bit of his toys, we don’t.) Or i would wait till he has shown wonderfully good behaviour and surprise him by telling him he can get a toy or i would pay for half an expensive toy for him. We want him to learn the value of money as well as patience and to have the ability to save for later (delayed gratification).
We encourage him to try to do everything he can himself. We do very little for him these days (he is after all 9 already). We have always nudge him to try new things. We want him to not be afraid and to dive into life, loving what it has to offer.
We don’t fuss over every fall or cut he has. We check it, ask if he is alright and get him to carry on. We have always tried not to baby him and to allow him to fall and pick himself up.
We try to get him to solve issues with his friends himself, only offering advice as to possible solutions when he asks. Same with difficult homework.
All because we…
…want (him) to know the exhilaration of overcoming fear and doubt and achieving a hard-won success.
…want (him) to believe in (his) own abilities and be confident and determined in (his) actions.
…want (him) to accept (his) limitations until (he) can figure out a way past them on (his) own significant power.
…want (him) to feel capable of making (his) own decisions, developing (his) own skills, taking (his) own risks, and coping with (his) own feelings…
It is not the easiest thing to do as a parent because the first thing i wanna do is to rush over and protect him, keep him safe from all the hurts and bad things. But i will not always be there so i need to help equip him to deal with the mountains he might face.
Is this what they call “Tough Love”? Maybe. But i have seen too many kids who have grown up with a sense of entitlement, a sense of the ‘world-owes-me’ to not be tough for the sake of my little guy and his future.