Many parents often say, “If I want something done right I have to do it myself.” Yet effective parents know that delegation of tasks is essential to build trust in the family. When you hold onto tasks and don’t delegate, you deprive your children of an opportunity to grow and learn responsibility.
Accept the fact that growth comes through struggle. Babying your children hinders their development and implies that you don’t trust them. Therefore, focus on treating your children as if they are who, how, and what you would like them to be. Treating children as if they are responsible and empowered increases their chances of becoming so.
Once the child completes a task, the objective should be to focus on progress rather than on perfection. If the child’s result does not meet your expectations, you can still find something positive to comment on while helping the youngster understand what the initial expectations were. This is far more effective than comments that foster guilt or a sense of failure. A positive approach prompts an incentive for the task—in contrast to criticizing, which provides a disincentive.
Remember that there isn’t any empowerment more effective than self-empowerment. Because being positive is so enabling, it is best to displace thoughts and communications that are destructive. Continually ask yourself how what you want to communicate can be put in a positive way. For example, saying, “You are bad tempered,” has the same meaning as, “You need to work on controlling your temper.” However, the first labels the child, whereas the second enables the youngster.
People change more by building on their strengths and aptitudes than by working on their weaknesses. This does not mean that an area of weakness should not be worked on, but it does mean that a parent’s emphasis should be on what the child can do, rather than on what he or she cannot do. The simple belief that something can be done is the spark that ignites the brain to act.