Help by Not Helping

Unwarranted help may create resource handicapped children. The power of struggle will plant the seeds of independent problem solving.

How do you think the child feels in following situations:

“Here Sandhya, let me help you with your sandals”.
“This is such a simple sum, Arun. I will show you how to do it”.
“See, you are dropping all over the place, let me feed you now.”
“Finding it tough? I will help you with your project in the evening.”

Are these cases making our children independent and responsible individuals?

Now look at these:

“Shoe laces taking time, no problem I will wait.”
“Spellings can be tricky, practice will make you perfect.”
“Sometime keeping the plate close to you will avoid the food spilling over.”
“Finding it tough? Maybe library or internet will help you – whatever, do your best!”

Perhaps the best approach is to keep mum. This is because STRUGGLE is a great teacher – and more than learning what the child is doing, he or she is learning how to learn. All what is required from your side is RESPECT for this struggle and PATIENCE!

Too soon, too early, we reach out and help our children. Are we really helping them? Instead let them do their own problem solving, be creative and resourceful. Isn’t that is what a strong and deep foundation is all about. And remember its all about simple things – no helping him with his buttons (may take five times more time), her food, his sleeping, her homework, problem with friend, etc. Let them search for their own suggestions, solutions, and conclusions.

Obviously you will need to step in sometimes – when they are tired, ill, tried everything etc. Trust your instincts – you know best.

Remember the simple formula:

Autonomy & Independence & Responsibility = Struggle (child’s) + Patience (parent’s)

By Ratnesh & Aditi Mathur