“Mommy, I can’t do it, help me!”
Hearing my kids call out these words is enough to make me drop everything I’m doing and run to their aid. Surely, lending a helping hand to my precious kids is the right thing to do, right?
Let’s admit it, as parents, we hate seeing our kids suffer. So we try to protect them. And we do so by practicing overparenting: wherein we overly involve ourselves in our kids’ lives in our desire to help and save them from every hardship and struggle. But do our kids benefit from our overparenting? If we “save” our kids from every little hardship, what are we accomplishing?
Overparenting saves our kids from struggles, which can be unpleasant and uncomfortable, but temporary. And the discomfort of struggles has significant payoffs, especially for our kids. So moms, here are a few reasons why you should let your kids struggle:
Struggle leads to growth.
It is only by dealing with our struggles can we push ourselves to get out of our comfort zones, and the same is true for our kids. Without it, our kids are not stretching themselves and thus, can never reach their full potential.
Research also shows that the challenges that come with struggling can enhance cognitive function. So in a sense, struggle brings growth and learning and can develop our kids’ inner strength, persistence, focus, and determination.
Struggling teaches them that asking for help is OK.
Of course, we should consider whether a task is developmentally appropriate for our kids. Because letting them struggle on a task that they might simply be too young for is counterproductive. Instead, we have to make them understand that it’s good to try, and asking for help if all else fails does not equate to “giving up.”
One rule we can consider implementing is, “try three times by yourself, then ask help if you need it.” If we think that our kids can handle the task independently and yet they still ask us for help, we can ask guiding questions instead of doing the task for them. “What do you think is the next step to take?” Or, “Where do you think we can find that information?”
Struggling boosts problem-solving skills.
Letting our kids struggle with challenges enhances their ability to solve problems. The process of struggling allows our kids to develop creative problem-solving skills. They learn that if one solution does not work, it’s OK to start over and try another. They then learn the strategies that word (and doesn’t) and also lets them flex their analytical thinking skills.
Saving our kids from every struggle restricts their growth, they won’t have the chance to practice the process of brainstorming, testing an idea, analyzing why an idea failed to work and repeating the process. Mastering this process can help them succeed in school, work, and life.
Struggling allows our kids to manage their emotions.
Struggling and even failing will let out kids feel a wide range of emotions such as sadness, frustration, disappointment, and even anger. Although these are not exactly pleasant, we face them regularly. And struggling teaches our kids that we should not bury our feelings or use them as an excuse for bad actions. Instead, we should healthily deal with them, learn and use strategies that can help us such as deep breathing, journaling, or even drawing. Coping with our feelings is a life skill that our kids can learn from struggling.
So what do we do about it? Instead of overparenting, we can do Collaborative Parenting instead.
Collaborative parenting emphasizes communication, negotiation, compromise, and an inclusive approach. Instead of doing things our way and eliminating every challenge, collaborative parenting is gently guiding our little ones, giving them the freedom to do things their way with our guidance. It maintains balance in incorporating both hard and soft parenting techniques. Experts believe that it is a healthy parenting style because it allows kids to be self-sufficient – training them to not always rely on their parents for everything and instead use the resources available to them. Collaborative parents can raise intelligent, resilient, and independent kids.
Lady’s Choice believes that collaborative parenting is beneficial for both parents and kids, and the brand aims to raise every parent’s awareness on the matter with their purpose film:
In the video, told entirely in the child’s perspective, the mom can be seen doing everything for her daughter. From preparing her meal, to tying her shoes, and even doing her homework for her. Only to later realize that such deeds are not helping her child – as signified by the latter’s failing grades. The mom then decided to take a more collaborative approach: guiding her daughter so that she can reach her potential.
At the same time, Lady’s Choice would like to challenge other parents to be more collaborative with their kids by partnering with Smart Parenting and launching the Do It Together Hub.
Be a collaborative parent now!
You can do daily Co-Creation activities with your kids by visiting these modules. The #DoItTogether Co-Creation activities were created by Lady’s Choice and Michelle Tambunting, a child development specialist to encourage parents to nurture co-creation to bring out their children’s best. By doing it together, parents can make great memories in the present while also molding their kids to be more successful and resilient in the future. For more Collaborative Parenting resources, visit the Do It Together Hub.
*Published with Lady’s Choice