So the key here to helping your kid or your teen overcome adversity is this. Do not bail them out of things that they could handle themselves.
So an example could be let’s say your kid is struggling with their math homework. Now as a parent we have two options. We have the easy option, which is very tempting, which is to swoop in and say, that’s easy. Let me do it for you. Here you go. Now you do that next time.
And that’s easy. And we can move on and get about our day. Or you have the thing that will actually serve them and you in the long run, which is sitting down, side by side, not doing it for them, but helping them walk through it, think through it, and struggle through it.
So not taking it on yourself. It doesn’t matter if you know the math homework. It matters that they come to know it. So in any situation in life, assuming that it’s safe and relatively low risk, don’t bail your kid out of things they themselves can handle.
Because when you bail your kid out – and all of us as parents are guilty of this, myself included – but when you do this it communicates to your kid, you can’t handle this, but I can. And that can get them into a victim mentality. I can’t handle this. I have to wait for someone to bail me out. I have to wait for someone else to solve my problem. I’ve got to wait to be rescued and have someone else rescue me from the situation.
We all know in life that kids are going to be inevitably faced with adversity, inevitably faced with things that are difficult and challenging and that they must overcome. And if you train them in the home by not bailing them out, letting them build up their adversity muscle – which is not a gift. It’s a muscle. It has to be worked out. It has to be fine-tuned.
And the only way you build a muscle is by putting stress and pressure on it. So give your kid, this is going to sound weird, but give your kid the beautiful gift of forcing them to face their adversity. Don’t bail them out. Sit down beside them. Be there for them. But don’t handle it for them.