How Enabling Our Kids Directly Relates To Their Self-Worth

Father helping to tie his son's shoes
Father helping to tie his son’s shoes

How did September get here and so darn quickly?  Wasn’t it just June yesterday?  With Summer vacation and kids out of their normal daily routines things sometimes need a little bit of assistance getting back in order.  We need to re-train and practice our daily schedules and re-visit all the areas that need a little tune up.  I often ask clients of mine to think about their household and whether or not they feel like their mornings or transitions getting out of the house are smooth, a bit rocky or utter chaos.  When you ask yourself this question where does your answer fall?  Is it somewhere in the middle or extremely one-sided?  What we don’t often realize as parents is that we typically are a large part of the problem if we are experiencing chaotic mornings or bedtime struggles.  Not only do we not realize that we are part of the equation, but we also don’t realize that by changing just a few things we not only help rectify the problem areas, but we also help our kids to feel a stronger self-worth and gain confidence.

What does all this mean?  Well, what often happens along our crazy journey of parenthood is we want our kids to feel good and happy all the time.  We never want them to struggle or feel pain.  We want our kids to smile and not cry.  We want our kids to feel success and never experience failure.  In all of OUR WANTS we actually end up missing the boat for what OUR KIDS NEED!  Our kids need opportunities to struggle and experience failure.  With these failures, lessons are learned and growth occurs.  Kids who are enabled by their parents are robbed the opportunities to feel independent and responsible.  Not only does this make your child irresponsible but it also makes them feel incapable and badly about themselves.

Here’s a couple examples for you:  Instead of tying your child’s shoes to get out of the door quickly, try getting up earlier and setting aside more time to give your child adequate time to attempt tying their own shoes.  I’m not saying not to be their helper when needed, but I am saying let them learn to be capable and feel needed and independent.  Instead of packing your kids’ backpack each night, take time to train and practice letting them pack their own things.  Once they know how to and have practiced it’s time for you to let them be.  Don’t always remind them when they forget something.  It’s so hard to do, especially when you see their homework lying on the kitchen table. This is the moment our parental instincts take over and we want to rescue them.  Be sure they don’t feel any amount of disappointment or failure.  Unfortunately for those kids whom have parents who always remind, the kids always forget.  This is where we think we are helping our kids, but in turn we are actually hurting them.  We think we are telling them that we care about them, but we are actually telling them that they aren’t capable of doing it alone and that we don’t believe they can.  This decreases their confidence which directly increases poor behaviour and negativity.

With school starting and new routines taking place it’s the perfect time to set up some charts and routines where your kids are responsible for themselves.  Teach them to get ready alone and allow them the chance to build their self-worth and confidence.  The best part of this is that they will feel better and so will you!  Now you are really helping your kids be all they can be.  Now you are actually helping them grow and develop!  For great printable charts and routines visit  include your kids when you create and set up the charts.  The more invested they are in the process, the more apt they are to cooperate and go along with it.  They will feel a sense of ownership and pride!

Start practicing now so that come the first day of school your kids are ready to get ready for school independently and build their own personal self-worth and responsibilities!



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