When we show faith in our children they develop courage and faith in themselves.
I've been using this tool quite a bit in my parenting lately.
For example, last week I mentioned that C is a little bit bothered by Pake and Beppe's dog, Rosie. Whenever we go outside, she says, "Carry me. Rosie is going to lick me."
Sometimes I do carry her. After all, she will be small and light enough to carry for only so long.
But other times, whether it's because I have my hands full or am feeling tired of picking up an almost 30 pound 3 year old that day or just want to help her build her courage and confidence, I'm encouraging her to walk.
We've talked through what will happen if Rosie licks her. She will get wet. She won't like it. It will feel yucky. And she will be okay.
We've talked through what she can do to stay away from Rosie. She can walk quickly to the car before Rosie realizes we are outside. She can tell Rosie "No" in a firm voice.
C is learning to dress and undress herself. She has velcro shoes down pat. She is better at putting on and taking off pants, shorts and skirts than she is at putting on and taking off tops and dresses. Sometimes she gets in a mood where she doesn't want to try at all. And increasingly, I'm stepping back and saying I have faith in her. I tell her I know she can do it. I may position the clothes in a way that makes it easier to figure out, and may talk her through it, but don't do it for her. (Of course that is out the window if we're in a hurry!)
C has a little insert for the big toilet that she calls her "booster seat." She likes me to get it down from the hook by the side of the toilet and put it on the seat for her. But this week I decided that it is a job she can do herself. I showed her how to do it, and talked her through how to lift it up off the hook before she pulls it toward herself. Then I left it on the hook for her to get down. She protested, but I said I had faith in her and left the bathroom. And she did it (and knocked the lid off the toilet tank in the process). Since then when she asks me to do it for her, I'm reminding her that she knows how and ask her to show me. And she does it for herself.