Jan 13, 2017
Let me set the scene:
Friend: “Can you believe what happened on Game of Thrones?”
You: “Wait..what? I haven’t watched it yet.”
Friend: “What part haven’t you seen yet, the part when…”
You: “Don’t tell me!!!”
Confession time. I am not current on Game of Thrones.
However; I think we can all agree that there is nothing worse than having someone notice what we are watching or reading and give away the ending.
They don’t mean to spoil the surprise, they are just excited to share what they know. No matter the reason, whether done with the best intentions or not, once the ending is given away, the book, movie or TV show loses its sparkle.
Do you know that sometimes we, as parents, give away important “spoilers” to our children?
Let me set these scenes:
Young child: (tying shoe laces)
Adult: “Looks like that’s hard for you. Here let me do it.”
Older Child: (Following a recipe)
Adult: “Cracking eggs can be messy, I’ll do them for you…”
What happened? Can you see where the spoilers were given away? Often, we see a child challenged with an activity and we step in. In both scenarios, the adult action was the result of a desire to help. Yet, our help may actually be giving away the chance for the child to make their own developmental discoveries.
What we must always keep in mind is that what is known to us in adulthood is a process still unfolding in our children. We have had enough life experiences to form our own shortcuts and stock our library of knowledge full of ideas and information. Our children are just embarking on these experiences and need to find out on their own what ideas will spark their imaginations, spur their desire to know more about the world they live in and create their own short cuts when the situation suits.
Stepping back is hard to do. Like giving away a juicy episode of a favorite show, sometimes we forget that our children don’t know yet what we know and they need to find out through their own trial and error.
So, how do we know when to guide our children and when not to?
Well, here’s a tip: if you see that your child is involved in something and you feel they need help: Wait until they are finished and just ask. Offer to show them how to do it and then let them try. Whether it’s a young child learning how to put on socks or an older child writing their first book report, offer help and if they decline, step back.
Let them keep trying on their own.
Let them know that you are available to help and then walk away. The more we encourage our children to try on their own, the more we are impressing upon them that they are capable and allowing them to savor the feeling of accomplishment that comes with perseverance. When we do – we get to hear the best ending possible, the sound of our child saying, “I did it!”
Now here’s what I want you to do next..
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