I shared Jen’s story in our last blog post, and she pointed out the two approaches that most parents end up taking (if you haven’t yet, check her full story out here, especially if your kid feels like school is just hard and that’s the way it has to be).
While both approaches are born out of love and the desire to see your kids succeed, to borrow Jen’s language, both ways set you up to fail.
Approach 1: ‘helicopter’ or ‘I’ll do it’
This mainly involves doing tasks your child is capable of doing or learning to do for them (making their to-do lists, being over their shoulder as they do their homework, emailing teachers on their behalf). It can also involve repeatedly telling your child what they need to do (you have to study more, you need to start researching colleges).
This cripples your child’s skill-building and growth. It doesn’t give them the space and time they need to practice initiative, autonomy, resilience and so much more. They don’t learn how to stand on their own two feet.
Approach 2: ‘you’re old enough to do it yourself’
This is the other end of the spectrum; you might still tell them what they need to do, but you’re not taking action to help.
The problem here is they don’t have the tools to do things on their own. They probably know what they need to do and why, but haven’t built out capacity or confidence when it comes to the vital how. How do they take initiative? How do they prioritize and manage their time and overcome fears of feeling stupid when they talk to their teacher? They can’t do these things if they don’t know how.
There’s a third approach, the sweet spot, whereby you step back while giving them the tools they need to learn how to stand on their own two feet. In my experience, this is what almost all parents want but very few achieve.
I’ll talk more about why this is so hard to achieve in a different post but for now, if you’re being totally honest with yourself,
Which approach do you fall into right now? Are you happy with how it’s going?
To honest reflections,
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