In this day and age where a child is satisfied almost immediately, it can almost be painful for the child when they have to wait.
Recently, my eldest daughter was playing a video game. She was struggling with it. She knew her younger sister had played the game and thought she might be able to help her. When my oldest asked her, the younger daughter told her to “figure it out on your own.” This was done in a very polite way (almost a way that mom would have told her). Then older child then said “it’s impossible!” The younger child, remembering the ingrained verse, replied “nothing is impossible.”
Did my eldest like not having an immediate answer? No. None of us like not knowing how to do something. And honestly, most of us don’t like waiting for things either. It truly can be painful sometimes.
Yet, there is great benefit to a child waiting. Painful as it might be.
We love our children, and hate to see them in pain. But sometimes pain is necessary for growth. I believe sometimes when we struggle for something, that is when we truly learn it. The pain a child has now when they have to wait to buy something will prevent them from having the pain of debt in the future. The pain they experience when they want answers now, will teach them critical thinking skills that will help them in every area of life.
But even scarier is helping our child to avoid pain because we want to avoid pain. We don’t want to fight with the child. We don’t want to hear the whining and fussing from our child. So we give in. We either buy them the object they want or give them the answer to the question. We need to think about our end goal. No one said parenting would be easy. And sometimes that means doing the hard thing now so that when our children are young adults, they have the skills we want them to have. Skills they need to have.
Of course, we need to remember balance. If a child struggles too much, they give up. If things come too easily to them, they won’t learn the lesson.
Not five minutes after the scenario above my younger child, who had just told the oldest one to figure it out, was at that exact spot in the game. The spot that my eldest had just finished working through on her own. Now the younger one asked for help. The oldest, whom the irony of the situation did not escape, told her to “figure it out on your own.” The younger one wailed the same response “it’s impossible!” And the older one gave her back the same response she had gotten from this sister earlier, “nothing is impossible.”
Obviously, we still have a lot to learn. And much growth to go through. And there is a reason it is called growing pains. But I encourage you to stay focused on the end goal!