Parents love our kids. We want the best for them. Our children are precious and it's so hard to watch them struggle.
AND, it's so necessary to give them chances to fail. To make mistakes. To get hurt and learn they can be resilient.
When we solve our kids' problems for them, it teaches them they are not problem-solvers. It makes them anxious that a problem will come up they can't solve. It makes them feel we don't trust them. We don't believe in them.
It takes discipline to respond to our children in ways that build resiliency and self-confidence. That make them feel autonomous and capable.
Here are some options of ways to respond when you're kids are struggling:
Kid: Mom, I'm nervous about tomorrow's math test.
A: If you get a bad grade, I'll talk to the teacher to get it changed.
B: You've studied hard. I know you'll do your best. If you don't do as well as you think you can, you can talk to the teacher about extra things you can do to really master it.
Kid: Mom, I applied for a job as a lifeguard but I didn't get it.
A: That is so unfair! Tomorrow, I will go talk to the Pool Manager.
B: You'll never get every opportunity you try for. It's great that you applied. Do you want to ask them what you could do over the next year to become a better candidate for a position?
Kid: Dad, I didn't get invited to Jimmy's birthday party.
A: I'll call Jimmy's dad right now and get you invited. You should go to every party!
B: If it's important to you, what could do to become a better friend to Jimmy? Do you want to invite Jimmy to do something with you that he enjoys so he can get to know you better?
This week, notice how you feel when your child fails or you suspect she might fail. Let go of your own anxiety. Let go of "what if she fails" thinking. Try converting those moments into opportunities for her to grow, learn, problem-solve, accept failure and become more resilient.
This week, notice how you're responding to your own fears of failure. Talk to your child - whatever age they are - about your concerns. Model how you will handle disappointments. Talk about how you responded when you failed to meet the goal. What did you learn? What will you do differently next time?
When we let our children know they can handle failure, when we model how to respond to our own disappointments and mistakes, they learn to be resilient, confident, problem-solvers.
Those are amazing gifts we can give our children!