Truth Alert: Things are about to get real…
You might be an over-supporter if you are always quick to do things for your child, help out or give hints or advice. It feels like the right thing to do, it feels like helping, but it might actually be doing more harm than good.
Do you have a hard time seeing your child become frustrated?
Do you have a low threshold for your seeing your child struggle?
You might be an over-supporter.
Helping is fine, but over-supporting does not allow our children to struggle with and overcome problems…a critical life skill.
There is a risk. Kids who are over-supported lack confidence, problem solving skills, and resilience. Instead of learning healthy strategies to deal with challenging life situations, these children have learned how to be helpless.
You might recognize the helpless child. He can be immature, unable to handle stress, lacks accountability and looks to parents to fix things when things go wrong.
The danger should be obvious here. Counter to the intended effect, children who were helped too much end up having a harder go at life. Adult life ends up being a struggle for the learned helpless, Work and relationships are harder to maintain. Without a strong sense of agency and autonomy, the learned helpless look outside themselves as causes and solutions to their problems.
As a parent you might end up dealing with the helpless child well into their adulthood as they have learned that they cannot rely on themselves. They will rely upon you. Enter parental burnout.
So, what can you do?
– Be honest. If you see yourself in this post, recognize it.
– Ask yourself, are you doing things for you child that they could be doing for themselves?
– Believe in your child. Believe that they can and will learn to do things for themselves.
– Start handing over responsibility for what your child can do.
– Instead of doing things for your child, help them learn the skill, the process to do it for themselves.
– Let go of perfection. As your child starts to take over more, things will not be perfect. That’s okay. They have not had as much practice.
– Adopt a growth mindset. Every mistake, every failed attempt is an opportunity to learn…and to take responsibility,.
-Show your human side. Normalize mistakes…talk about how you too make mistakes.
– Apologize to your child…maybe even apologize for doing too much and taking away your child’s autonomy and opportunities to learn. Tell them you are going to try to do things differently.
– Reread this post when you need, and call me if you need some help