I sat there watching. Pretending I didn’t see what was going on. I even pretended not to hear him when he was calling me to help him. ‘Mummy i can’t put on my shoes’. This is the anthem I hear every morning and every morning I help him. He would never learn at this rate. By now he should be able to dress himself up. (Why is it that when my son is frustrated, I want to pull my own hair out, too?) Argghhh… Sensing his frustration I got up and left the room because the longer I stayed the more I got frustrated and just wanted to put the shoes on for him and let us get on with our lives. But today will be different. I am not helping him. I don’t care if we are going to be late but he just has to try. Today is the day he has to learn his lesson of independence. After several attempts he managed to get the first foot on, and then a few minutes later he got the second leg. He came up to me saying ‘Mummy i didn’t even need your help, I did it all by myself’. Wow, good for you darling it shows you are all grown up.
Good intentions to protect or jump in to help our children can backfire. If we step in every time, we will never allow them to develop those problem solving skills. Sometimes, stand back and watch. Exposure to frustration builds stronger emotional development for children. It has been said that children with greater frustration tolerance grow up to be happier and more successful. They understand that things aren’t always easy and pleasant, and they survive it.
It is hard in this day and age of everything sharp sharp to slow down and let our children do their thing, but it is very important! As my child builds his tolerance, I realise I must build mine too. That is how to teach your children to let go off your apron strings.