By now you have probably seen the GIF of the Olympic parents reacting as they watched their daughter during the gymnastics competition. How many of you can relate to that mom and dad? I’m sure these parents worked hard to provide for their daughter’s needs and wishes….but they then had to sit back and watch her do her thing on the uneven bars. I know that’s exactly where I am when I sit on the sideline and watch my boys in their sporting events, or watch them complete an important assignment, or for my oldest, while he’s practicing his driving. Argh!!! So much anxiety…but still so much pride.
One of the hardest things a parent has to do is learn when to step back and let their child try on their own. But it’s important for us to trust in the skills and values that we have instilled in our child and then empower her to go out and try.
STEPS to Empower Your Child
Problem solving skills
Helping your child to 1) identify the problem, 2) brainstorm solutions, 3) determine the best choice, and then 4) evaluate the outcome are great ways to empower your child to make sound decisions. Because we are not always there to help our children make choices, it is important that we teach them healthy problem solving skills to foster healthy outcomes.
Words have power!Giving our kids compliments and positive words of reinforcement are an important ingredient in their self-identity and growing confidence in their abilities.But this growing confidence can be easily undermined if we as parents are harsh in our criticisms.Wondering what in the world I’m talking about?Well, for example…..you decided not to allow your son to hang out with his friends because he had not completed his assigned chores.You could say “see I told you that you wouldn’t be able to go if you didn’t do your chores! Now look at you…all of your friends are having fun and you are stuck in the house being miserable!” OR YOU COULD SAY “I can tell that you are disappointed that you are not able to go to out with your friends.Since this is obviously important to you, how you can make sure you are able to go the next time?”
Kids are always watching!They watch when you smile at the neighbor and they watch when you gently soothe their baby brother.Teach your child without her realizing it!As you problem solve, go about daily activities, or wait in line you can narrate your thoughts and your processing.For example, as you stand in the grocery store line your child will learn patience when she hears you say out loud “Wow this line is long. But we will just patiently wait our turn and then we can head on out to the car.”As she grows in her self-identity, your child will mimic this patience and self-control instead of being easily irritated and highly impulsive.
An EMPOWERED CHILD is a child who does not easily quit. The empowered child has more confidence, is able to stand up against negative influences, and is able to be goal oriented and focused on future planning. That’s the child that you can proudly watch from the sidelines as they STEP out on their own.