Purposeful Parent Tip: Strive not to fix everything for your child but rather invite them to be part of the solution.
“Mommy, fix it!” I’m sure all of us have heard these words from our child from time to time. A toy gets broken, a block tower falls, a dolly’s clothes get ripped. Our hearts break just a little as we see our teary-eyed babies come to us seeking help and support to fix what’s been broken. There are times when this is an easy task, like mending a torn shirt. There are other times, when it’s not.
It is tempting to ‘do it all’ for our kids. Make life easy for them. As busy as parents are today, sometimes it’s just easier to do it themselves, rather than showing a child how to do it or better yet, working together. For me, a divorced mom of two children, many many times it’s just easier to do it myself. But that is not the best approach.
I could fix my children their breakfast everyday. I could do all of their laundry each week. I could help them with every bit of their homework. I don’t and I haven’t for a long time.
Is it because I’m a mean, uncaring mother? (My kids think so sometimes.) It’s because I want my kids to be self-sufficient. I want them to be able to live abundantly and independently. I’m not always going to be there to do these things for them. In a few years my son will head off to college. While he might not like throwing in a load of laundry, he will be grateful he knows how to do this simple task when he’s sitting in his dorm room with a pile of dirty clothes in front of him.
Despite him getting upset with me when he wants me to make him a smoothie (which he knows how to do), I know that he will look back at this time and be thankful that I didn’t do everything for him and maybe when he has his first apartment, he will be able to whip up a tasty treat for himself.
It’s hard to say no to our kids when they need our help. It’s hard to watch them struggle and witness their frustration. Better to experience this now when the challenges are small, than later when they are paralyzed with a larger issue as an adult.
I encourage new parents to let their children fail. Let that tower of blocks fall. Wipe their tears, work together and show them how to build it again so that next time, they can do it themselves. How proud they will be of their accomplishment. And how relieved you will be to see that they can do it on their own.
Next time you hear “Mommy, fix it”, take a moment before you respond. See if there’s a way you can help them without doing it for them. Offer your suggestions. Share an idea or two. Then sit back and watch what happens next.