Guest Post: Parents — Reach for the Duct Tape

Hi Readers! Here’s a little list of tips from Vicki Hoefle, author of the brand-new book: Duct Tape Parenting: A Less is More Approach to Raising Respectful, Responsible and Resilient Kids. – L

5 Simple Ways to Let Go and Raise a Resilient Child, by Vicki Hoefle

Hey there Free-Rangers! I want to give a quick kudos to you for encouraging your children to take reasonable risks. It takes courage to foster independence in a world that prefers to hover and hyper-protect. By stepping out of the way and trusting them, you are enabling resiliency, confidence, courage and independence in your kids. Thank you and keep up the radical faith, folks!

If you start to lose a little steam or you begin to hear the chopper blades grind, here are a few things you can do to bring yourself back into the “less is more” parenting mode.

1. Try saying yes. Sometimes, we simply say NO because it’s habit, or it’ll take too long or we’re not sure they can handle it or it will be messy. This is a choice of convenience (for us) over experience (for the kids). Luckily, it’s an easy habit to work on so consider yes before you throw out an automatic no!

2. Ignore the mess. Engaged, thinking, curious kids are messy and they don’t always look perfect, have their stuff together or make the “right choices.” Yep, they might say the wrong thing (and make you blush), forget their homework or wear mismatched clothes. Give yourself permission to stop “tidying up” for them and celebrate independence!

3. Encourage your child to do for himself.  Kids ask for all kinds of help that they really don’t need us for. “Can you get me a drink?” “Can you find my hat?” And so forth. Encouraging kids to do it themselves is vital to them developing self, home and life skills – and it’s a natural confidence booster.  Remember it’s about practice, not perfection, so keep your expectations reasonable.

4. Hang Back vs. Hovering. It’s easy to watch our kids try and succeed but it’s hard to watch when they make mistakes or fail.  If we can hang back, though, we’ll watch our kids solve the problems they create in creative and often surprising ways. Hanging back and observing sends a message that you trust your child to try and yes, to fail is just fine.  This is certainly good for resiliency!

5. Zip the Mouth. Technically, this is easy but mentally, it can be fiercely challenging. (I put duct tape over my bossy mouth!) Some parents talk all day long (without realizing)– correcting, nagging, reminding, chiming in, etc. This “noise” interferes with a child’s decision-making process and puts the thinking on mom or dad’s plate. It’s counter-productive if we want kids to know how to figure things out vs. calling mom or dad for everything, right? Right!