When children experience challenging situations, many parents’ natural inclination is to jump in to fix the problem, ease the discomfort, and rescue their child from feeling disappointment. Although this may seem to be a loving and caring response; sometimes, the best thing to do is counter-intuitive. What is most effective for building authentic self-confidence and resiliency is modeling the message that failure is part of succeeding.
When given the opportunity to sit with the discomfort of not knowing an answer and encouraged to use their thinking skills to solve the problem, children learn to think outside the box, be independent thinkers, and believe in their own capabilities to face and resolve difficulties. In other words, they become resilient and confident in their abilities to handle life’s obstacles. When a parent isn’t able to tolerate their child’s discomforts, the message the child receives is that it’s unacceptable to feel uncomfortable and not know an answer. In turn, this may actually undermine the child’s instinctual motivation for self-discovery, and instead, increase reliance on others to solve problems.
By taking into account the parent-child interactional pattern, our parent coaching program helps parents navigate the fine boundaries of helping the child build critical thinking skills while encouraging curiosity without enabling a helpless, “I can’t” mentality.