I’m pretty sure you would answer with a resounding “YES!” if I asked you whether you wanted to raise your child to be resilient.
Right, because you care about raising a child that can be a successful, well adjusted, contributing member to society.
What if you are doing something that goes against this goal and you didn’t know it???
I’m talking about “lawnmower parenting”.
It is the successor of the famous parenting temptation called “helicopter parenting”.
In essence, it means trying to “mow” down obstacles for your child so that they feel cared for and do not have to experience struggle.
Of course, every parent wants their child to be happy. And, to be honest, a kid who is not having big emotions also makes your job easier in the moment. It is HARD to watch your kids struggle.
By being drawn into the temptation to remove obstacles for your child, it is actually foreclosing on their happiness later.
It’s about the long game here.
Because life is not something we get to control, there will always be moments of challenge and struggle. Circumstances will occur that we cannot change.
Because this is just the truth of living as a human being on the planet, we are best served by learning how to manage our internal world as opposed to trying to control external circumstances.
Resilience is gained when we learn how to navigate feelings of disappointment, heart break, failure, hurt feelings, or fears.
By giving your children the opportunity to navigate these feelings and responses to circumstances outside themselves on a smaller scale (feels big in the moment!) like hurt feelings between friends at girl scouts, you are giving them the opportunity to train for what they will encounter as adults (maybe office politics or competition in sports or raising children of their own).
There are times when your children do need your support to manage certain obstacles.
This, of course, will depend on their age and maturity level.
It requires mindful consideration about when it will be best to let them work through it.
Sometimes the best time to let them work through it is when you have enough resources to help them navigate the challenge.
Sometimes is it not best to let them work through a struggle when you are also struggling. When you are depleted, it is hard to coach them through the wave of emotion.
And, it takes some practice to be able to breathe through the discomfort of your child’s emotions arising.
The goal is remembering the long game of raising a resilient child.
It is something you can always ask other parents, teachers or a therapist about if you are not sure what that line should be of allowing them to practice managing adversity or coming in to offer support.