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Children are curious beings. Curiosity is their natural drive to explore the world. It is their manner of learning about the world. Along the way they will fall. They will get dirty, tear their clothes and lose hair pins. They will scrape their legs, hit and bump. They will encounter bullies and face occasional taunting at the playground. And it will be fine. A degree of these mishaps is desired as the child must find ways that are successful to reach goals. Be it the ability to climb the ladder, or resolve a conflict with a friend, these failed attempts are the greatest challenge that drive development. Children take in information and try again, adapting slightly in each attempt until they acquire the dexterity that yields success.

So relax. Preoccupied parents will tell us how hard it is to be ever present. It is exhausting to watch every move and prevent all chances of pain. In parenting, energy is quickly exhausted. It is important to preserve it. So be intelligent and focus on dangers which are too high to accept. When the danger is below the threshold keep a watchful eye. Encourage the child to try things and remain in visible distance. The important part for the child is that he or she knows that their secure base is close for their refuge. You should be their security-recharge bank, available for refill during times of distress. This, on its own, is a wonderful experience that teaches children that there is someone waiting to help them when the world gets too rough. This becomes the seed that grows into secure personalities in adulthood.

 

– Steve Libreri is a social worker and parent coach within Willingness.  He offers parent coaching and social work sessions.  He can be contacted on steve@willingness.com.mt