Protecting our children from harm is our number one priority. We brought them into this world so it makes sense that it’s our duty to keep them safe from anything that could cause them distress. Isn’t this what a parent’s love should be all about? Obviously not. While most parents do anything they possibly can to keep their children safe, their main focus should be on how to give them the tools to keep themselves safe. We can’t always be there for our children so the best thing we can teach them is to look after themselves and know what to experience and what to avoid.
So don’t give everything to your child, teach them how to get it themselves. Because what experience shows you by truly feeling the things you need to feel, can’t be replaced by any story told by anyone. Here are some reasons why experience is the best teacher for anyone, including your child:
- We live alone.
We don’t always have someone there to help us. There isn’t anyone that is constantly by our side so we need to be able to rely on ourselves. We need to understand that in any circumstance we are able to find a solution and at least find a way to ask for help for someone else. Children that are overly protected don’t get to understand the importance of independence as soon as they should and tend to rely on others all the time. Help your child to become independent and most of all, believe that he is able to handle any situation. If he is less anxious he will find a solution for any problem much easier.
- Experience empowers us.
While we experience new things, we grow and our brain develops and is able to understand new concepts. But while we experience new situations our perception of ourselves is shaped too. We begin to see ourselves as being “more”. We become more by experiencing more. So we become more independent, powerful and resourceful. We can point out to something from the past and say “I was able to go through that”, which gives us proof that we are able to overcome specific things. This gives us confidence that we are able to handle new things that might come our way.
- We believe what we feel, not what we hear.
Even if parents explain risks and consequences to children, they can’t truly relate to them unless they experienced those particular things or at least something similar. Children need to scratch their knees in order to be aware of the fact that they can fall.
- Rules don’t make sense to children. Clear examples do.
Children deserve clear examples to support the rules parents impose. So don’t tell them they should avoid fire, put a candle in front of them and tell them to gradually approach it. They will understand what the safety zone is and respect it in the future. Children need to understand why things need to be in a specific way and also have a personal opinion about anything. They need to be able to express how they perceive things even if they are wrong.
- Experience helps us evaluate our abilities more accurately.
Children can believe they can do anything or nothing at all. Only experience can show them, gradually, what they can actually do or do not. So give your child a chance to experience life and not only hear stories about how life should or shouldn’t be.