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One of the hardest things about parenthood is letting kids learn on their own without stepping in to “rescue” them.

If you’ve. . .

peeled yourself away from your child’s clinging embrace on the first day of school 

let them cut their own bangs when you knew it would be disastrous

helped your doctor hold your baby firmly during vaccination

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. . . then you know exactly what I’m talking about.

There’s nothing worse than seeing our children struggle. There’s even a scientific reason as to why adults find it next to impossible to ignore a child’s cry. 

A study from the University of Oxford found that the adult brain is hard-wired to respond to the sound of a baby crying—whether or not they’re the parents. If perfect strangers can have a visceral reaction to a child in need, of course it’s that much harder for parents and caregivers. 

But perhaps the hardest part of all is resisting the urge to step in like superheroes at the first sign of distress. When we’re too quick to rescue our kids from every challenge they face, we hamper their growth and independent learning while denying them the self-confidence that autonomous achievement can bring.

I talk about resisting the urge to take over for our kids in this short video:

So next time your kid is upset over a math assignment, a misunderstanding with a friend, or indecision over which college to attend, resist the urge to swoop in and take over with a solution.

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Talk to them, listen to them, soothe their anxiety, and offer advice—then step back and let them handle it on their own.

Parents, I feel your pain in seeing your kids struggle! But sometimes good parenting means letting them fall so that we can see them rise up and triumph.

Love and Blessings,

P.S. I did a brief segment on WUSA 9 last month! For tips on on how to manage your and your family’s mental health, watch here.