You are in the kitchen, and your spouse, who is a better chef than you are, is watching you make dinner.
You cut the onions, and your spouse comes behind you and re-cuts parts of the onions to be smaller.
You grab a spatula, and your spouse tells you “it’ll be easier for you to hold it like this..” repositioning it in your hand.
You put the onions on the pan, and your spouse lowers the heat, explaining how onions can burn on high heat.
How are you feeling?
My guess is: anxious, unsure of your next move, angry at your spouse, defensive, and certainly NOT like a good cook, and NOT like you’re going to want to do this again.
What’s the alternative?
You grab the spatula, try to move the onions around, and realize that how you’re holding the spatula is uncomfortable, so you switch positions on your own. You notice some of the onions are big, and you may ask your spouse “is this a good size for the onions in this dish?” because you’re feeling open to feedback, and independently in charge of the situation..
Now, picture you and your 5 year old — they want to put their picture on the fridge, and you reposition the magnet or have them get a different one that won’t fall.
Picture you and your 7 year old — they want to make a PBJ sandwich, and you re-spread the peanut butter and warn them about making a mess with the jelly.
Picture you and your 10 year old — they want to make a cool image for the cover of their report, and you take the mouse to show them how to upload images more easily.
We all want to help our kids. We know so much! So, we want to share what we know in an effort to make our kids lives easier.
And yet, in our helping, we can often make them feel foolish, defensive, and NOT like they are good at things, capable of figuring things out, or independent beings at all.
I want to pause here and emphasize– these emails are meant to teach, not shame. If you noticed parts of yourself in these examples, I’ve something you can think about for next time. My hope is that you read these and remember this lesson for the future, and that it never feels stressful to have a new idea.
.. So, the next time you see your kid struggling, pause.
Spend a full minute noticing:
– Might they figure this out on their own?
– Will they get hurt or will something go irreversibly wrong if they do this differently from how I would do it?
– Is this important enough for me to intervene, risking their sense of accomplishment?
I bet we can handle that crooked picture, messy sandwich, or less than perfect report cover if it means our kids sense of accomplishment, or learning something on their own.
Some of you will feel complete knowing this framework, and want to try parts of it on your own.
Some of you want to dive deeper into this framework and learn concrete ways to implement each piece, in depth, for your specific children, with the added perk of accountability along the way.
If this is you, I invite you to schedule a Resilient Kid Clarity Call to find out if working with me may be right for your family. I’m looking forward to connecting.