A child’s human spirit and conscience develop like a new building under construction with scaffolding around it. Parents and other adults provide a framework for support, but the child is the one under development. The point is the child—or the building.
Everybody looks past the scaffolding
They are trying to see around or through the scaffolding to get an idea of what the building is going to look like. So it doesn’t matter what scaffolding looks like, as long as it serves its purpose.
Instead of worrying about what others think of our efforts, what if we keep our focus on the best interests of the child?
What will help develop their human spirit?
- Letting them make mistakes. Not covering those mistakes up, but helping them process wrongdoing so they can learn from it.
- Serving as a sounding board as they think, reflect, and make the kind of internal changes that will allow them to grow.
A friend of mine is struggling with oncoming empty nest syndrome
Two children who have left the nest are doing great, and one is still in high school and becoming very independent. When her second child left home recently, I sent her a note of encouragement saying,
You are now a masters-level parent. They can do much more on their own now, and that’s a sign of success.
When scaffolding is no longer needed, it goes away.
I’d argue that this removal of support doesn’t happen all of a sudden at age 18, but gradually throughout childhood and the teen years as kids take on more responsibility and make wise choices more consistently.
Paradoxically, the sign of good parenting is when they don’t need you anymore.
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