Instilling Competence In Our Kids

I bet you didn’t know there was a correct way to cut butter, did you? Well there is. And there is also a correct way to make the bed, fold the towels, and put the roll of toilet paper on the roll.

child washing dishes

And these were essential skills I had to teach my children the right way to do it. Because my way was the right way.

We have the best of intentions when it comes to parenting our children. We want the best for them and for them to do their best.

I thought that in teaching them my way of doing things, they would learn right ways of doing things and avoid making the same mistakes I did.

But many times, even though my intention was for them to learn the proper way to do things, my children were actually learning that they were not smart enough or competent enough.

Now don’t get me wrong… there are times when you need to show them exactly how things are done (especially when them not doing things the right way can cause harm to themselves or others). But other times, can we give our children the freedom to do it their own way??

It’s almost like knowing when to pick your battles. We need to know when to show our children the right way (which most times, if we are honest, is usually the right way only because it is our way), and when to let them just have the freedom in knowing they have the competence and ability to do it.

Of course we want them to do their best (and we want to make sure we are inspecting their work), and there are times when I send them back to do a better job. But they still do it their way. Because does it really matter if all the dishes in the dishwasher face left instead of right? Not really. But it does matter that my children feel competent!

What about you? What are your thoughts? When is a good time to teach them “our way” and when can we let them do it their way?

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