Teach them how to fight their own battles.
A lot of times its easier for us parents and faster for us to save and rescue our kids but as they get older we must teach them how to both choose their battles and fight them.
Imagine your toddler hits another child. The other child runs up to you immediately to report on the infraction. Let’s even say that you watched the entire conflict – play by play, so you know that your child was in the wrong. It can be very easy to apologize on behalf of your child or immediately make your child apologize. Instead, get down to his/her level and explain that they “hurt” another child or “its not okay to hit someone when we’re frustrated” and either have them walk over to the other child to apologize or grab their hand. It could even be useful to pull your child to the side to have a little one-on-one out of the presence of the other child, that way you are teaching your baby to handle conflict in a direct and healthy manner.
For an older child, let’s say middle or high school, one great opportunity to teach this valuable lesson is in an academic setting. Think about how you’d feel if you found out your child:
Some children are so introverted or uncomfortable that rather than speak to a teacher about an incident, they tell their parents who then step in on their behalf. Consider coaching your child through handling one of the above scenarios. You could even role play the conversation between your child and the teacher. Come up with a good timeframe by asking your child “at what point in your day do you think it would be good to speak to your teacher?” Be sure to follow up. If the teacher is unresponsive or the situation gets out of hand, then it’s time to fly in with your cape on, until then back up and let your child learn how to notice a problem with an individual that he/she has an issue with (a teacher or even a friend), come up with possible solutions, implement those solutions and talk about what they learned from the process. That way, if you’re not around to help them at some point or when they graduate from High School and go out into the world, they are used to problem solving and can fight their battles without you.
Check out Mothering Our Babies #1: Teach Them How to Care for Something Besides Themselves here: https://donnienicole.com/2013/03/11/mob-mothering-our-babies-1/. MOB: Mothering Our Babies is a new weekly column here on Analog Girl all about parenting!