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Allow them to struggle - Melissa Swart
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Allow them to struggle

For me this is, often times, the hardest thing as a parent. I love my kids and I will do anything for them, but I know that jumping in, every time they struggle with something, will do a lot more harm than good.

From the day I found out that I was having a little person, I sat and thought about all the things that I will need to do as a mom. I thought about all the lessons that would be learned and all the responsibilities I would have, teaching them everything they need to know. One of the things that occupied my mind, for the longest time, was that I wanted her to be strong, independent and self assured. How was I going to make sure that my girly will know she is loved, but still make sure that she develops a fierceness.

I would sit for hours and read and think and think and read and then think some more. It was exhausting. Then finally one day I realized that the answer was not about what I would do, but what I wouldn’t.

If I encouraged, rather than takeover, I would give them the opportunity to grow their self confidence. I would be equipping them with the self-assurance they’d need to thrive as individuals. If I let them explore their strength, they will only become stronger.

If I encouraged, rather than takeover, I would give them the opportunity to grow their self confidence.

This sounds so simple, but let me assure you it is one of the hardest things about parenting. You have to step back when they struggle and that means fighting every urge you have to ‘make it easier’. Every time they screamed with frustration I had to tell them “you can do this, but if you want me to help, just say ‘mommy, help’ and I will help you”. There are many times I get annoyed with how long they take with the simplest of tasks. This usually happens when we don’t have time on our side, but then I have to remind myself to breath and stay calm, because they are learning.

When they fall I grit my teeth, hold my breath and watch in anticipation as their little brains process the whole thing. I see the gears turning, assessing their emotions and physical state and then I see it… …they get back up, dust themselves off and carry on, because they know their own strength. Of course I’m always there to scoop up when the fall was a little too hard to handle and I cherish those moments. The moments where they still need me to wipe away the tears and shower them with kisses.

I am surprised on a daily basis by their ability to learn and grow through the struggles they encounter. Some struggles are a lot harder than others, but they know that they are strong and also that if they need a hand I’m right behind them, ready to help.

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