Parents may not realize that doing too much for children (usually in the name of love) is discouraging. A child may adopt the belief "I’m not capable” when adults insist on doing things for them that they could do for themselves. Another possible belief is “I am loved only when others are doing things for me.”
Why don’t children keep their agreements? Could it be that sometimes parents and teachers say, “This is what we are going to do. Do you agree?” When the question is asked in an authoritarian manner that doesn’t leave room for discussion, children often shrug in agreement, which really means, “Sure, I’ll agree to get you off my back, but I don’t really agree.”
A natural consequence is anything that happens naturally, with no adult interference. When you stand in the rain, you get wet. When you don’t eat, you get hungry. When you forget your coat, you get cold. No piggy backing allowed. Adults piggy back when they lecture, scold, say, "I told you so," or do anything that adds more blame, shame, or pain than the child might experience naturally from the experience.
Pampering is doing things for our children that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. The fact is, our children are born with an innate desire to do things for themselves and begin to express that desire around the age of two. We are all familiar with the toddler who says "Me do it!" Too many parents say, "No, you are too little. Go play." Then when they are older and we ask them to help, we are surprised when they say, "No. I'm playing."
Compliments and appreciations bring us closer together. Finding ways to compliment your children can be a very valuable parenting tool. So often we are focused on what our children have done wrong. This week focus on what your children have done right and give them an appropriate compliment. "I appreciate how quickly you get dressed and ready for school." "I notice how kindly you cared for Anna when she felt sad, I bet it helped her feel better." "Thank you for setting the table." You will be amazed how this simple act will change the atmosphere in your home.
When teachers take even just a few minutes to greet students as they come in the door, show concern for students’ problems, or take time for a little one-on-one instruction, the results can be profound.
One of the most encouraging things parents can do for their children is to spend regular, scheduled special time with them. You may already spend lots of time with your children. However there is a difference between have to time, casual time, and scheduled special time.