Why do we have such a difficult time allowing children to do what they have agreed to do? We second guess them and create in our mind scenarios of what if this happens or what if so and so says or does this. Because we don’t want them to get hurt or have a difficult situation arise; we make the decision to take matters into our own hands. That decision can come from pressure of family and close friends or our own mind being too creative with ‘what if’ scenarios and thinking of all the things that can go wrong.
Instead we need to turn those negative ‘what if’ scenarios to positive ones. We need to think of all the things that can go right and have faith the desired result will actually be the outcome. By having a positive ‘what if’ in our mind, even when the outcome is not always as we’ve hoped, we can develop trust in their abilities and empower our children as they go through the reasoning process of making choices on their own.
If we continually make decisions for them, they will lose out on all of the opportunities to make mistakes and by so doing, figure out they’ve done so and how to fix those mistakes. We will also deprive them of all the triumphs of making the right choice and building confidence in their reasoning abilities.
Children are very intelligent, they get good grades in school, they have good friends, they have desires to serve others and they are hard workers. As parents we need to let them continue on that path and build a higher level of trust. It’s not easy however, to take this step as our children reach adulthood. By letting go, we can strengthen the relationships that we have with them. They will know that we believe in them and trust them to do what they’ve agree to do.
We can find joy together in their accomplishments and offer support as they make mistakes and learn how to fix them.
For more ideas on how to help children grow, consider Bil Lepp's Muddling Through: Perspectives on Parenting.