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Empowering vs. Enabling: Walking the Fine Line with Our Kids


A father presenting a chort list white board to his three children

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As parents, don't we all strive to help our kids grow into confident, capable individuals?


We want them to achieve their dreams while being independent. But how do we strike the right balance between empowering them and doing everything for them? Let's explore together!



Navigating Empowering Choices vs. Enabling Actions


Empowering your child means giving them the tools and support to thrive independently. It's about helping them build skills, knowledge, and confidence to reach their dreams. Empowerment involves working together, setting goals, and making plans to achieve them by recognizing strengths and weaknesses.


So What is Enabling?


Enabling is when we do things for our children that they could and should do on their own. Instead of helping them learn and grow, it's about removing hurdles and challenges for them. While it comes from a place of love, enabling can hold back our children's progress in the long term.


The Consequences of Enabling


When we enable our kids, we do them a disservice. We may think that we're helping them, but we're actually preventing them from developing the skills and confidence they need to succeed on their own. Enablement can lead to dependency, low self-esteem, and a lack of motivation. It can also create resentment in the relationship, as children who are being enabled may feel like they're not being taken seriously or trusted to handle things on their own.


The Benefits of Empowerment


Empowerment, on the other hand, has many benefits. When we empower our kids, we help them develop the skills and confidence they need to succeed on their own. This can lead to greater self-esteem, motivation, and a sense of accomplishment. Empowerment can also strengthen our relationship with our kids, as it helps them to feel fully supported and encouraged.


In the parent-child relationship, it's natural for us as parents to want to protect and care for our children. However, it's important to remember that our ultimate goal as parents is to help our kids become independent, confident adults. We can empower our kids by giving them the tools and resources they need to succeed, and allowing them to do things that they are capable of doing for themselves.


For example, if your child is struggling with homework, empowering them would involve helping them develop a plan to improve their study habits or seeking out a tutor to help them improve their skills. Enabling them would involve doing their homework for them or constantly reminding them to do their homework.


chore chart for kids


Chore charts like this one help create a system for your child that supports accountability and success.





How to Empower Our Kids Without Enabling Them - Tips and Strategies


Let's explore some tips and strategies for empowering our kids without enabling them:


Set Boundaries


Creating boundaries is essential for helping our kids become independent. We have to communicate what we're willing to do and what we expect them to handle on their own. Sometimes, it means saying no to things they can do themselves or setting clear rules about how we'll assist them.


Help Your Child Embrace Challenges and Bounce Back Stronger


One of the biggest barriers to empowering others is the fear of failure. We may worry that our kids will make mistakes or fail, but this is a natural part of the learning process. It's important to encourage our kids to take risks and try new things, even if they might fail. By cultivating resilience and a growth mindset, we can help them bounce back from setbacks and keep moving forward.


Build Strong Bonds Through Communication


Effective communication is key to empowering our children. We need to be clear with our kids about our expectations, provide feedback and support to them, and encourage them to be open and honest in talking with us. By communicating effectively, we can build trust and create a supportive environment that encourages our kids' growth and development.


Conclusion: Empowering Our Kids and Nurturing Independence


By recognizing the distinction between enabling and empowering, and further understanding the meaning of enabling, we can better guide our children towards success and happiness. Let's continue to empower them to tackle challenges and grow into confident individuals ready to take on the world! Remember, fostering independence in our children is a journey that requires patience, support, and unwavering belief in their abilities.


For more parenting inspiration, check out the amazing Parenting with Impact podcast from our partners at ImpactParents!




A family having fun running a race outside

All blog content shared through HealthSmart! Kids is for informational purposes only and not to be construed as medical advice. Always talk with your qualified health care provider for managing your health care needs.

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