As parents, there is nothing more important than finding ways to effectively assist our children to develop confidence and self-esteem. No skill will be more valuable to them throughout their lives than the ability to think creatively, flexibly, and innovatively. This requires that they be free to discover, to create, and to adventure. They must have a chance to explore unknown territory and find their way, even if it means taking some wrong turns and making some mistakes.
At the same time, we want to take great care of our children so they feel safe and protected. That’s why when we see a potential rough spot emerging before them, we so often feel compelled to tell rather than ask. And what do we tell our children? More often than not we tell them what we don’t want them to do! After all, it appears to be so much easier and more efficient to say “Don’t do that!” than to ask, “How would you handle that?” Yet, there is an underlying paradox at work here. If I say to you, “Don’t think of the number 3!” what do you do? Immediately the number 3 pops into your head and then you quickly try to push it out. The same is true when we tell our children NOT to spill their juice or NOT to forget to do their chores. When we describe what we don’t want, we magnetically direct their focus toward that which we don’t want! In other words, what we focus on is what we create!