It’s funny how parenting works. Funny as in ironic. We prepare our children for independence, yet we still feel the need to offer help/step-in. It’s this constant push and pull of leading our children to be their own person and also wanting to shield them under our arms forever.
Each new milestone that is met no matter the timeline, is like our reward as parents for beating a parenting level. There are always obstacles, some big and some small. We’re so excited for helping our children reach their goals, but also a little disappointed that that particular level is over. It’s bittersweet.
Lately my toddler has been really interested in puzzles. He knows to look for similarities in the puzzle pieces to find which ones connect. He knows he has to flip the pieces around to find the best fit. He knows these things because I’ve been scaffolding him along the way. He’s been hearing my repetitive advice on which pieces would fit best. He’s been listening and comprehending.
Last night he was able to complete 4, 12 piece puzzles almost entirely on his own. I offered my help to let him know I would help him if he needed me. I noticed by the time he got to the fourth puzzle, he asked for my help less and less. While this is what the ultimate goal is, it’s still heartbreaking as well as prideful to watch your child become more and more independent.
There are instances in my parenting with both of my children that I have to hold back from stepping in to help. It certainly is faster for me to just do certain things, but the lessons my children are learning far outweigh how fast something can be accomplished.
Patience and time are the best parenting tools to foster independence. Children learn best through practice, repetition, and consistency. Including the knowledge of independent thinking.
It’s definitely funny, that as parents our ultimate goal is to create children that will be independent thinkers. Yet we also want them fo listen to us and our household rules. It’s a fine line of explaining when to listen and when it’s OK to question a demand.
That, my friends, is the bittersweet irony of parenting.