Some of these are learned after suffering disappointments, being knocked down, and getting up again. I don't think we should be over protecting our kids, but as a parent myself, you can have a mental tug-o-war. One side says, "let him go, he will learn", and the other side says "no, I need to protect him". You might not even have these conscious thoughts, they are just feelings. Each child's maturity level is different, so you have to do what you think is right, and what you think they can handle.
Children have their own set of challenges to navigate in their lives - taking school tests, making friends and getting hurt by friends, dealing with bullies, starting things for the first time, and so on. Solving these problems and being able to dust themselves off and move on makes them resilient. Problem solving doesn't mean they have to do it all themselves, it means that they know who to ask for help and when.
As parents, how can we best be there for our kids when situations arise where they must problem solve the answer? My research points to the following:
1. Allow some risks (age appropriate ones). They will not learn to use a knife properly if you don't give them the opportunity to practise. Yes, they could hurt themselves, but supervise them.
2. Teach them about problem solving. Show them how you problem solve. Ask them for ideas on how to problem solve.
3. Give them some skills to lean back on when they need them eg. how to cross the road. Play board games that teach problem solving, concentration and using your memory.
4. Let them make mistakes. Show them how they can learn from their mistakes. Model the right behaviour by not giving up yourself. Practise makes perfect.
5. Emotions are often involved so work on having a good relationship with your kids so that they can talk to you about how they feel. Put yourself in their shoes and understand how they feel. Offer them comfort and empathy.
6. Create opportunities for your child to learn responsibility. They won't have this skill right away, but allow them to learn what responsibility is. If they make bad decisions, offer guidance.
7. Find out what your child's strengths are. When they are down and disappointed if they have failed at something, they will bounce back better, knowing that they are good at something.
Focus on teaching and providing opportunities for your children to grow. They will grow in confidence. So much discussion can be had around the above points when doing things with your children.
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