My husband and I are naturally cautious. Being attentive parents, our childrens’ first years were filled with “be careful”, “no touch”, and “let me help you.” It’s no wonder, then, between genetics and parenting style, that we have cautious kids who deal with some larger anxieties than normal.
What we’ve been learning along the way, however, is how important it is to let our kids see what they’re capable of, test their capabilities, and be confident in their own ability to try new things.
In practical terms, that means saying “2 hands” to my three year old who wants to carry a full glass of milk across the carpet, instead of doing it for her. It means telling my six year old he can be trusted to retrieve balls from the street, once I give him the signal. It means empowering our kids to see what they can do, supporting instead of hindering them in their venture.
Now, instead of saying “let me do that”, we try to talk through what they need to watch out for and then encourage them as they go. Our new phrase is, “let me know if you need help”. Go for it!