I recently discovered there is such a thing as being too on-the-ball.
When Vera was P3/4, I was often stressed out by her stressing out over math. So I did what I thought was right by swooping in like an eagle – to rescue her out of her math misery.
In my enthusiasm, I unfortunately over-did it. I was so good at rescuing her that I didn’t notice the little monster I was cultivating in the shadows – the monster called Reliance.
Each time I managed to solve a problem that she was struggling with, I had won…but only for the short-term. In the long run, I was fighting a losing battle. Instead of building up her math skills and resilience, I ended up only cultivating Reliance.
When she was in P5, I noticed something different about the way my husband taught her. Instead of giving her the answer on a platter, he often prompted her with questions, prodding her along like a reluctant ox ploughing on a field. While she got frustrated at times, it was actually stretching her skills in the process.
I admired his technique at a distance and thereafter tried to do the same. I began asking her questions more than answering them. And slowly, she began to recall concepts on her own, and to solve some of the problems using her own resources.
Sometimes she still comes to me for support, but half the time I’m merely sitting there like a quiet companion, nodding at her soliloquy, giving some verbal feedback whenever she seems to be on the right track.
She’s not completely independent yet, but I think we’re getting there.
Now that I’ve learnt my lesson, I’ll be approaching challenges with my boys differently. I’ll try to act bodoh a bit, and not be so quick to throw out answers and suggestions, maybe hints, maybe some verbalising of my inner thoughts (hmm, I wonder if you have to do something with “x”?) but not answers.
How do you cultivate resilience instead of reliance in your child?