Our children evolve from either being the “I do it myself!” toddler or the “I can’t do it!” one.
Regardless whether your child began as one type or the other you hope that as they get older they develop a positive “go get em” attitude for life.
What happens when they don’t…
If you have an “I can’t do it!” kid you are probably having some daily struggles.
- Getting dressed
- Doing homework
- Cleaning up
Have no fear, it’s never too late to help our children learn that yes, they can do it – and no, they don’t need your help.
Here are a few ways to get things moving…..or shall I say, “get them moving”…
Let them struggle
Put down the life preserver and stop rescuing them. It is tempting to jump in when you see them having a difficult time. Unfortunately, this can encourage the “I can’t do it” attitude.
When you help, you are indirectly communicating to your kids that you agree…. they can’t do it.
Instead, walk them through it
Say things like, “Clean up all your clothes first and then I will tell you what to do next.”
Teach them one step at a time. When teaching things like tying shoes, let them master one step before moving on to the next. Kids learn best with hands-on practice, so be sure to give them an opportunity to do it themselves.
Even if you help, let them do the last step.
Let’s face it. There will be times when your kids just can’t do it.
Younger kids might struggle with getting their arms through their shirt or completely tying their shoes. Older kids might struggle with school projects or a very messy room. (Looks like a bomb went off!!?!)
It is not helpful to let your kids sink into despair.
If you think they are not going to get it, help them – but back away right before they complete the task. What is most important in these situations is to let kids feel the success of completing the task independently even if it is just the last step.
Reframe their negative thinking
Once your kids have done a task or activity be sure to reframe their negative thinking.
You can say something like, “See! You thought you couldn’t do it, but you could. You stuck with it and you didn’t give up!” Reframing their “I can’t do it” attitude will help them internalize their successes and will slowly chip away at their negativity.
Help them be the expert
Slowly empowering your kids is the way to help them change their “I can’t do it” attitude.
What are their skills and talents?
Highlight their strengths and make them your family expert. You can say things like, “I don’t know, you should ask your brother, he knows the most about animals.” Or “Ask your sister to help you, she is great at organizing things.”
Highlighting what your kids are good at will help them adopt a positive self-image and will help discourage the “I can’t do it” mentality.
Having kids who constantly feel like they can’t do things can be draining for them and for you.
Although these tips aren’t going to change your kids overnight, using these approaches consistently will slowly start to alter your children’s “I can’t do it” belief.
Read these posts to learn more about how to empower, not control your kids:
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Parents
- What We Can Learn from Toothpaste Mom
- 3 Important Reasons Parents Forget Sculpting and Become Gardeners