Is it good to let your kids fight their own battles?
Let your kids fight their own battles but emotionally equip them beforehand.
For most – if not all parents – it is only instinct to shield their children from any harm, illness or danger that could possibly befall them. From a small ant bite to a raging fever, it is always hard for a parent to watch their children physically suffer. Imagine how they’d react, if their children are called rude names or intentionally pushed during playtime by another child? Woe betide the bully that dares to do that! Most parents would respond by complaining to the school authorities or even confront the perpetrator, to stand up for their child.
RELATED: Is your child the preschool bully?
If you are one of these overly protective parents, you have to know that it is better not to intervene.
Let your kids fight their own battles
Parents may be well-meaning but fighting their children’s battles actually hinders their development and sends them negative messages. Apart from stifling their independence, getting involved in playground politics signify that parents don’t believe their children can effectively handle the situation by themselves.
So while it might be hard to see your children cry or feel disappointed, leaving them to solve the situation means that they’ll have to learn how to communicate effectively with other people and resolve conflicts based on their own judgments. Furthermore if you let your kids fight their own battles and they win, this boosts their self-esteem and gives them a better vocabulary to deal with similar situations later on.
Click on to the next page to learn how to get your child ready for battle.
Teach, not intervene
Once you’ve decided to let your kids fight their own battles, do give them ammunition to win without a war. Here’s how:
1.) Help them process their emotions – Children, like adults, often react with their emotions. To help your kids when they encounter a difficult situation with a bully, they should know how to deal with their emotions. Instead of reacting immediately to something who’s taunting them, tell your child to stop, wait and think before he says anything. An easy way to put the brakes on acting emotionally is to count slowly to 10. While it may be difficult for a young child to keep calm and take deep breaths before deciding what to do, practice makes perfect. Tell him that he can speak firmly to his tormentor without resorting to the same bullying tactics and that if the bully persists, there is always an option to walk away. Do realize that there is a high possibility that you child would remain frustrated, angry or depressed after the event and would need to channel these emotions in a way that’s safe and secure. Encourage them to focus these negative energies on something they enjoy doing, say perhaps drawing (“draw how you feel”) or get them to play a specific sport to vent out (“hit that ball hard!”) and recover.
2.) Empathise and offer love and support – When you let your kids fight their own battles, be prepared for them to fail. Empathise with your children and be there to listen when things don’t go their way. Give examples as to what they can do to handle a situation better. Allow them a safe space to vent their frustrations, cry or even scream their anger without judging their behavior with you. Just being present and listening shows your child that you care and is there to support him.
3.) Teach resilience – Life has an inbuilt mechanism to assure that things don’t always go our way. After all, that’s how we build wisdom and experience. If you train your children to be resilient, they’ll often be able to get back up from a fall to persevere in their goals. They’d be less likely to be adversely affected by small setbacks and have a balanced perspective on life.
Let your kids fight their own battles but always be an involved and interested parent. This will ensure that you’re aware if petty squabbles turn into major abuse. That’s when you’ll know it’s time to step in.
Do you allow let your kids fight their own battles? Share your perspectives by leaving a comment. To learn when to step in against bullying attacks, watch this video: