Oct. 16, 2019

When We Should (And Shouldn't) Rescue Our Kids

When kids need rescuing, they look to Mom. Whether we do so or not, we’re left second-guessing whatever it is we just did. Here’s when we should step in, and when we should hang back— and how to give our kids the gift of solving their own problems.


No matter what ages our kids are, when they need rescuing, they look to Mom. And whether we rescue them or not, we’re left second-guessing whatever it is we just did. 

Did you bring that forgotten lunch to school? Nice helicoptering, loser! 

Did you leave your kid to figure out his own way home from baseball when it was getting dark? Really, how can you live with yourself? 

In this episode, we talk about all the situations our kids have (and will) want rescuing from, and whether or not each requires our stepping in-- and how to know. 

We discuss: why “natural consequences” for your forgetful kid doesn’t mean she’ll remember her cleats next time; the structures and scaffolding you can put in place so kids can start rescuing themselves; and why “muscle confusion” isn’t just for the gym.

Basically, we think that if your kids blow it once in a while, you should go ahead and bring them the right shoes. But don’t forget to give your kids the gifts of solving their own problems once in a while.  As parenting expert Dr. Robin Berman explains: "If you want to have happy kids, you have to teach them to tolerate being unhappy."

Here are links to research and other writing on the topic that we discuss in this episode:

Dr. Robin Berman for Goop: The Misguided Desire of Wanting Our Kids to be Happy

Carolyn Dalgiesh: The Sensory Child Gets Organized: Proven Systems for Rigid, Anxious, or Distracted Kids

Dr. Sarah Sarkis for Hey Sigmund: ‘I Just Want Them to Be Okay’ – Why Rescuing Our Kids Can Get in Their Way

Dr. Michael G. Thompson: When Should A Forgetful Nine-Year-Old Suffer Consequences?

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