We parents like to help. It’s what we do. When our children are struggling we feel compelled to assist, direct, or support. Sometimes, all this ‘help’ is counterproductive and inadvertently sends the message that you don’t trust your kids to do things on their own, to create, or problem solve without some adult supervision or input. If there is one constant statement repeating in my head it is this: “Back off, they are capable, be patient. When they want help, they will ASK ME for it.” The trick is to be available, but at a distance.
Yesterday, my gal needed a curtain in order to properly create a fashion show experience for her stuffed animals. She started out asking for string. After a brief discussion to discern her goal, I offered the extra fabric we had. She happily took it, asked for scissors then politely told me, “She was good.” Code for, “You can leave now.” So I turned on my heels and left.
After half an hour or so she called me into her room. Her creation was rudimentary (and the color scheme was killing me), but it’s her creation. All hers. From the books as the runway to the storage cubes as part of the stage structure to the jagged cuts in the fabric. She thought this up and executed her idea and her sense of accomplishment is lovely to witness.