As parents, we all want to do the best for our kids. Frequently, we actively help our children accomplish all tasks. We try to protect them from disappointment, failure, injury. We do things for them, thinking we are taking care of them. Of course we do. After all we are parents. (And, let’s be honest, sometimes our motivations are more straightforward: “We HAVE to get out the door right now!” as we stuff their little arms into their jackets and little feet into boots! Those are not moments when we are considering any implications longer than the next half hour). This doesn’t end as they get older – in many ways it gets more difficult. How do you protect them from the injury of hurt feelings? How to do you ensure that they don’t fail?
What if we change the narrative? What would look different if you thought about helping your kid cope with disappointment instead of avoiding it? How would you teach them to deal with a mistake with grace and perseverance? At Mildenhall Montessori, we emphasize the development of emotional skills that support resilience and problem solving. From a young age, we emphasize responsibility for belongings, daily tasks, and personal care. We encourage students to not only complete their own work, but check and correct their own work. These are skills that empower our children to be successful in every current and future environment.
Recent research in secondary education is demonstrating the benefits of emphasizing independence and responsibility and the relative risks of parental management of school related responsibilities. If nothing else it makes for interesting conversation.