I may appear to be a laid back parent, but I am here to tell you that it takes a lot of effort to be laid back…
Every day I have to make conscious efforts to not hover. I restrain myself from helping Matteo with a puzzle. I bite my tongue when all I want to say is “be careful!” I push through with a calming smile when Matteo is scared to leave my side.
It gets easier to trust my children as I see them succeed without my help. Matteo can complete a puzzle without any help. He has never had a serious injury (knock on wood) despite scaling ladders, slides, & various other playground equipment. He is making progress in being more comfortable away from me.
Not hovering makes my life much easier (despite the constant conflict going on in my head). Matteo pours his own milk, picks out & puts on his own clothes, & goes potty by himself. Sometimes taking a step back means that I will have more messes to clean up. Oftentimes it means that every task takes much longer to complete. Sometimes it means that Matteo has to face anxiety or sadness.
All of that is okay. I am here as a support & a teacher – not an enabler. It breaks my heart to see him anxious or upset, but my job is to help him work through those feelings & cope with the situations. (That being said, I don’t make it a point to seek out those situations.)
Each time Matteo succeeds, he builds confidence. Each time he fails, he builds resilience.
So next time you see Matteo standing up on his bike, climbing up high, wandering far away, or walking along the edge of the stream know that I am holding my breathe, muttering “be careful” under my breathe, & hoping that being laid back doesn’t backfire this time…