Navigating the journey of parenthood often involves mastering the art of helping kids make decisions without stepping in to take control. It’s undoubtedly challenging, especially when we witness our children facing difficulties.
Experienced the heart-wrenching moment of detaching from your child’s embrace on their first day of school,
Allowed them to cut their own bangs, anticipating the chaotic result,
Assisted the doctor in holding your baby firmly during a vaccination,
You’re familiar with the internal struggle parents face.
Seeing our children struggle is incredibly difficult, and there’s even scientific evidence to explain why adults find it nearly impossible to disregard a child’s cry. A University of Oxford study discovered that the adult brain is inherently programmed to react to the sound of a baby crying—regardless of parental status. This instinctual response makes it even harder for parents and caregivers to restrain themselves from intervening.
However, the real challenge lies in how to let go of hyperparenting and resist the impulse to swoop in like superheroes at the first sign of distress. When we’re too quick to “rescue” our kids from every challenge they encounter, we hinder their growth, learning autonomy, and deny them the self-confidence that comes with achieving success independently.
In this short video, I explore the importance of resisting the urge to take over for our kids:
So, the next time your child is distressed over a math assignment, a misunderstanding with a friend, or indecision about which college to attend, practice how to be a calmer parent and resist the urge to provide immediate solutions. Listen attentively, demonstrate empathy through both body language and presence, maintain eye contact, and put away your phone. Reflect on their feelings, for example, by saying, “It sounds like you thought you’d do better and feel really disappointed.” Verify your understanding and inquire if they have a preferred course of action or need further clarity on the next steps. Ask if they want you to just be present and support them as they work through the issue, or if they would like your advice. Then, step back and allow them to handle the situation independently.
Parents, I empathize with the pain of witnessing your kids struggle. However, sometimes how to stop rescuing your kids from their feelings and allowing them to face challenges is an essential aspect of good parenting. This process enables them to realize their resilience and capability, and we get the privilege of watching them rise and triumph.
Love and Blessings,