I work with small people. Some might call them children, or brats or even scalawags – but I call them small people – Because, that’s what they are. I also am lucky enough to call some of them my friends. Sure, I am strict and even yell sometimes, but I am also very liberal with hugs and high fives. My little friends like me. My goal is to EMPOWER not enable. When one of my small people comes to me and needs help with a tie of the shoe, or a zip of the coat they are told to try it themselves first. When one of my little munchkins tries to get out of an art project or clean up time by going to the bathroom or being lazy – they are reminded not to be lazy. Teach a kid to tie his shoes and…well…he can tie his shoes! I am proud to be one person who helps set boundaries for them. Some of them don’t have any at all. NONE. They dictate to mom and dad what they want to eat and are allowed to talk back and be disrespectful. They play at the table and throw food – to which mom and dad reply, “Oh, well…they are children.” My point exactly. Children thrive when there is a set regime and routine and rules to follow. it helps them feel secure in an otherwise scary world.
The enabling factor does not end with kids. It’s everywhere. It is a huge crutch that a lot of people use and it needs to be broken. I know a bundle of twenty somethings that don’t want to work – and DON’T – because mom and dad give them money. Some of them manage to hold a job for a month before getting bored and quitting, letting the parentals handle the finances. I know some couples that are all about the enable. Either he or she does EVERYTHING for their mate, making said mate lazy and useless. It sucks.
I guess I am writing this today because I am tired of watching people (mostly mom’s and dad’s at work) use love and selflessness as an excuse. You really love your kid? Teach them to be independent. It isn’t right to DO everything for anyone. And, in the long run – it isn’t about love at all. It is about the enabler feeling good about themselves. By trying to prevent crises or troubles or frustration, they are really just prolonging the problem. It’s a motivation of fear and fear is the opposite of love.
So, mom’s – dad’s…? Think about how awesome your kid will feel when they are able to do things themselves. Think about how good you feel when you accomplish a task. Without asking for help. Feels pretty good, don’t it? Cause really, which is more helpful – learning to do something, or having it done for you?