It happens to all of us. We want to be a good parent so we try to solve all our children’s problems. We provide the answers, help find the solutions, take care of the art or science fair project and pull out our calculator to figure out the math problems we already forgot. Perhaps even occasionally looking at the back of the book and getting the answer and then working in reverse.
We think we are being supportive, good parents and providing the assistance a child needs, but in reality, we are hurting their independence and their own quest for answers. It is also teaching them that there is an easier way out. Asking for help which generally means getting what you need without having to put in much effort.
Kids need to learn the importance of being resourceful, developing the curiosity to find their own solutions and to be self sufficient. It’s more about finding the balance between not giving them the fish, but helping them grow into the person that can find their own fish.
You can guide them by asking questions. This allows them to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. You can show them how something is done and then have them try and encourage them. Encouragement should be for the effort they put into whatever they do. Not about the grade or the award.
Results matter, but if your only focus is that then what happens when they don’t achieve expectations… It may be better to cultivate an attitude of putting in work to reach something and that on its own will be rewarding. At the same time, once they understand how effort works they will know that whatever they set out to do for themselves, they will inevitably attain as long as enough effort is put in.
There are different ways which curiosity can be developed. Social media platforms like Instagram can be a great way to go through a lot of content and find things you didn’t know existed and could actually help you find a new interest. That new interest may lead you to new paths that were undiscovered. It’s a good idea to set a time limit for this as it is easy to spend a lot of time on social media and forget the other things you need to do. Trying different activities is also a great way to develop curiosity and to find your own strengths.
Kids nowadays all have many afterschool activities. Perhaps they need more time to relax and play, but these afterschool activities do that as well. When picking out extracurricular activities with your child make sure to include them in the process. You could try out a test class and if they like it they can keep going. It’s important not to force them to go. They are kids, they change their mind constantly and will find something new that interests them very quickly. They are just getting to know and understand the world. Allow them to do that and through that process, they themselves will see what they are good at, what they enjoy doing and will eventually want to do more of that.
As any parent knows, children ask “why” a thousand times every day. It is a common belief that asking why three times allows you to get to the truth. Even though that may be subjective there is something there to ponder. Avoiding the questions your child asks you will eventually make them stop asking. Once they stop asking, they stop being curious about things. The best you can do is answer them and ask them questions to spark their own imagination and help them come up with their own answers.
The long-term effects of developing curiosity are powerful and the more you help your children to be curious about everything, the better their life will be.