The greatest goal of parenting is surely to raise children who are happy and self-reliant. Of course, when your children are very young – they rely on you for getting around, food, protection and support. However, as your children grow up – they will depend on you less.
Here are 2 important reminders and tips on how to make the transition from dependent to independent easier on both you and your child:
1. It is not our job to make our children happy. It is our job to help them figure it out on their own.
As parents, we are wired to understand our children’s emotions. We empathise with them. When they hurt – we hurt. We are programmed to protect them. However, it is important that children understand that suffering is a part of life. They need to learn what to do when they face suffering. They need to able to bounce back and handle setbacks.
Tip: Nurture your own happiness. Children learn by example. Encourage optimism by reframing negative situations, promoting positive self-talk and counting your blessings.
2. We cannot control how they see themselves.
Anxiety and depression are unavoidable. The pressures that young people face means that we are seeing more anxiety and depression. Telling children how wonderful they are all the time does not actually help them. It can be damaging when they realise they may not be as good as someone else at doing a specific task. Self-esteem can be built from allowing children to master skills and challenges on their own. Their greatest sense of achievement can come from succeeding in a situation where the child failed the first time and then came back to gain victory.
Tip:Let them help themselves. Only step in when they have exhausted all other avenues.