Parents make a mistake when they pamper in the name of love. Pampering creates weakness because children develop the belief that others should do everything for them. One of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to allow them to develop the belief, “I am capable.” Children feel capable when they learn that they can survive the ups and downs of life.
But first let’s define what we mean by “Avoid Pampering.” We are NOT talking about love, affection and connection. Giving hugs is not pampering. Giving compliments is not pampering. Validating feelings is not pampering.
Pampering is doing things for our children that they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. The fact is, our children are born with an innate desire to do things for themselves and begin to express that desire around the age of two. We are all familiar with the toddler who says “Me do it!” Too many parents say, “No, you are too little. Go play.” Then when they are older and we ask them to help, we are surprised when they say, “No. I’m playing.”
Parents often do things for their children for expediency. They may be in a hurry or they are afraid their children will not do it “right” or perfectly. That is why it is important to “take time for training.” This means showing them how and then letting them practice. Do things “with” young children until they are old enough and practiced enough to graduate to doing things by themselves. It will still often take longer and not be perfect, but remember we are striving for long-term results. We need to give our children opportunities to become responsible, capable young people.