One of the most powerful things we can do as parents is to empower our children. Children define their capabilities through our eyes as parents if we believe our children can do something; they are likely to believe they can do it themselves. Consciously or otherwise, our children know we won’t put them in situations they are unable to handle, so if we put them in a situation, part of the message is “you can handle this”. And then they believe they can handle it. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee they will succeed, but it does maximize the possibility they will succeed, because they will believe in themselves.
This comes up quite a bit in early adolescence, Of course, it can be a scary world out there, but this is the world in which we live, and since we can’t protect our children forever, we want them to develop a sense of their own competence to handle themselves in this world. To whatever extent possible, parents have the opportunity to say “yes” rather than saying “no” when children are wanting to “spread their wings” and are asking for increasing levels of independence.
If we really embrace our ability to define our children, we can recognize countless opportunities to empower them to think of themselves as capable, competent humans who have everything they need to create the lives they choose