Learning to take a step back as a parent is hard, we want to make sure our angels are safe and never face any problems in life that their path is a straight and clear one. We don’t want them to suffer or face disappointment and we want them to be happy.
Of course we want them to be happy, isn’t happiness the goal of life? So why should our angels not be happy now, isn’t childhood all about happiness?
Yes, of course it is, but childhood is also about learning and growing, finding out what the world is for them, learning how to survive and go out from under our wings and stand on their own as adults in the world.
However we are seeing some very scary numbers of young children as young as 6 or 7 with mental health issues. These are not all genetic mental health problems, these are stress, depression and anxiety. Problems that young children shouldn’t be dealing with.
There are many reasons for theses stats, one we are more aware of mental health issues. In my opinion we are pushing our children to quickly at school and not allowing them time to be kids, we think they need to read and write by 5 years old, but do they really? Is it imperative? (note this is my opinion)
Technology is another one that gets the blame along with the reduced outdoor and play time because of technology. And perhaps it might be because more and more parents are working and kids spend more time without a parent around as the main caregiver (again another of my own opinions)
Another which I think is a huge issue, as parents we are doing to much for our children, we are stepping in and FIXING things for our angels. It is easy to try and fix every problem them come up against instead of taking on large step back and watching quietly at the sidelines and let them deal with the issues that arise.
One said time happened only a few weeks ago for me. My beloved son was super excited to have his best friend come over for his first play date in our home (long story why this is his first!) it was a Friday and his best friend was coming for the whole afternoon on the Saturday, he was bouncing all the way to school. I felt so happy for him that finally he was able to have a friend over (something I had been worrying over for some time)
As the bell went and we wait with our kids in line, he went up to tell his friend how excited he was, and then his friend shouted I am going to Bob’s house, yes I am going to Bob’s house today I am so excited. Instead of being excited about going to my sons house. I stood there as my beloved sons face fell, he looked so upset. I wanted grab him up and tell him not to worry, it will be ok.
However I stopped myself, I stood there feeling broken hearted for him, thinking the cruelty of children. How sad this happened. I walked away from school thinking maybe I should have given him a hug, rather than walk away. I should have done something. But I knew I was right to walk away. (More about that in a bit)
Returning at home time to pick him up, he was happy and feeling fine about life. I wondered tentatively about bringing up this morning’s conversation, but a little worried about asking in case I created a problem that wasn’t there.
Walking home I quietly said,” is Peter going to Bob’s house today?”, “Yes, Mummy” replied beloved son. “How do feel about that?” asking my best nonchalant Mum voice trying not to let on to my worries. “Ok Mummy, it is fine he is going to Bob’s house today, because we will have the best time tomorrow when Peter comes to my house” replied beloved son. Wow! I thought, what a great response.
Perhaps had I stepped in earlier, I would have had a problem on my hands. I had a little boy who was quite happy that his friend was coming to play and happy for him that he was going to Bob’s house. Turning into an unhappy little boy feeling like he must be upset because Mum is telling me there is a problem. I would have broken his happy little bubble.
But it was more than that. By stepping back I allowed my beloved son to deal with the situation, process it and work through it himself.
He choose to look at in a positive light. But even if he hadn’t and it had upset him, I would have still stepped back and allowed him to work through it himself. Because that is his learning moment for life, how our kids learn to deal with these moments, sets them up for life.
It teaches them to deal with disappointment, stress, anxiety and so on. Kids need to learn these skills in life. Because as adults we know there are many, many moments just like these we need to deal with them. How did we learn?
Yes sometimes we need to give them guidance, but we do not need to FIX the problem for them!
Compare it to a wild animal at birth, they learn quickly how to survive, deal with the stress of life. They do this through play, trial and error and from their parents. In a place where it is safe for them to learn.
Lets, let our kids learn their survival skills from us, through play, trial and error and their peers. Let them make mistakes and get upset, let them work through the problems. Take that big step back and guide them from the sidelines. Let them make their mistakes now, where we as parents can help them and teach them. Rather than stepping in and scattering rose petals under our angels feet…..
Author: Kerry Arslan
My passion is helping Parent’s support their children. Being dyslexic has given me a deep passion to help kids to develop a positive and resilient mindset for life and I believe as Parent’s we are the best people to do this. As a Parent & Parenting Coach I understand the struggle parents have to support and help their children understand today’s world.