We all have stories we tell ourselves. Maybe there was nobody there when you were a child so you vow to protect and be there no matter what. The intent is pure and coming from a place of love. However, when we take it too far and speak for our child, blame others or remove them from experiences of growth, we give a subtle message that “you cannot handle this.” This also becomes a learned behavior for the child. He realizes that when he shares situations where he was wronged (actually or perceived), he gets attention and protection. It is a recipe for victimhood. He doesn’t learn how to persevere, show up, speak up, solve, rise above. I am obviously not talking about extreme situations but everyday occurrences that can take place in school or in childhood.
If instead you give empathy (which means allowing them to have their angst) and repeat back to them their feelings, you give them permission to be themselves and have these natural life moments. When you add an affirmation that you believe in them and you give tools, when asked or needed, you empower them to move through life’s challenges and tribulations with perseverance and fortitude. You teach them that they CAN handle it and their confidence, self worth and self esteem can flourish. If I was seriously concerned about a situation and I wanted my child to learn skills for self advocacy, I used to give a heads up to the teacher so she could be aware and help with prompts. In this way, you offer a balance of support and tools so that you are not saving/rescuing and you are not leaving them to their own devices, unsupported.
These are the greatest teaching moments.