Mama-bear Parenting

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Are You a Mama-Bear?

Have you heard the expression “Momma-bear”? Well according to the Urban dictionary It means “ a wonderful mother who is protective, but in a good way. She acts like a mother bear in all senses of the word; caring, protective, helpful, loving, powerful, strong, a refuge of sorts.’

 This sounds like a great Momma and many of those qualities are wonderful but while being protective may work well for a bear, being overprotective is not always helpful for us humans.

 It is our desire to be protective but I see parents rescuing their child from things the child should learn to work through. Why do we always want to rescue our children from hard work? We see them making a bad choice and we want to step in and show them an easier way or help them take a short cut, or simply solve the problem for them. Are we really helping them?

 It is hard for many of us as parents to step aside and watch our children struggle. It starts when they are very young. We watch our one year old crawl under the coffee table and then try to stand up and he bumps his head. We immediately want to get under there and help him out. We could watch and allow him to struggle and figure it out. He is learning where his body is in relation to space and the table. When we whisk him out of there he has no idea how that happened. He may later find himself in the same situation, bump his head, cry and wait for you to magically get him out. You didn’t allow him to figure it out himself. 

 This rescuing behavior goes on as they get older, we don’t allow our children to feel the natural consequences of their own behavior. The problems are different but the learning still needs to happen. These hard times teach a child to develop perseverance, resilience and courage. 

 Parents may think that when a child fails, looses or is turned down that this will hurt their self esteem. But children will soon learn that life is not always fair and they are going to be faced with challenges and the child who is successful at pushing through these adverse situations will develop a true positive self esteem.

How can we help our children when they are faced with a challenge? We can acknowledge that it is hard, empathy goes a long way, but we can follow this by being an encourager and maintaining a positive outlook. This will help them keep moving forward even though it may be difficult. It is very easy to get caught up in the self pity, unfairness of life, or ‘why me?’. As parents we can guide our children out of that unhealthy mind set, teaching them to let go of self-defeating and unproductive thoughts and get down to the business of dealing with what’s before them. Parents who use strategies like these can change a child’s outlook and help their child develop determination, persistence and problem-solving skills.

 I feel this quote is appropriate, “Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go.” -William Feather

We can teach our children to hang on, to not give up and to learn from their mistakes. This will also develop in them strong character. So don’t rescue your children from adversity but support them as they walk through it.

 Written by Lisa Strong


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