When we think of our young babies and children, we think they are beautiful, perfect and we need to protect them. However they are wired to explore and learn and make mistakes, to experience life and have a few accidents, to learn how to face challenges and struggle with life.
One often finds parents preventing their children from certain experiences because they fear for them and want to prevent accidents. And yes, we must protect them from really dangerous things, but to keep them safe further they must experience their world first-hand, we can and should guide them sometimes but keeping in mind it is their experience and not ours.
More often than not we find mothers and fathers preventing their daughters from doing something physically challenging, yet encouraging their sons to do it. Girls are usually agile and stronger than boys until puberty, yet parents “protect” girls more even when their strength is evident.
By doing so their daughters get the message that they are not capable and lose confidence as they miss an opportunity to learn and get experience. Boys get the message that they have to try, learn and lead. We need to encourage girls to experiment in the same fashion that we encourage boys.
Every time our children (and us) face a situation that could be dangerous, before you say NO, think again, evaluate it with them: make the questions:
-What is the worst that could happen?
-If that happens, what would you do?
-What is the best that can happen?
Through this exercise we teach them how to make good decisions and we help them feel empowered to explore, experience and live through struggles and challenges.
When our children experience life, they learn their strengths and weaknesses.
The best we can do is to trust our kids, make them feel loved so they feel worthy of love and belonging.