Parenting Challenges with extended family close by_Answer

Posted on Tuesday, June 9th, 2015 at 2:27 am.

First of all, it is clear that you realize you are fortunate to have a caring and involved extended family and it’s great that many of them are geographically close to you. That is wonderful! And it sounds clear that they love your children and are quite well-meaning in their suggestions and attempts to help them develop.

Of course, as the parents you and your husband always have the final say about what your children are ready to do and what you are ready to let them do.  However, sometimes parents can be a little overprotective or overly cautious in judging their child’s readiness for a next step. This isn’t a bad thing. It is a safe and cautious way to proceed and protecting your children’s physical and psychological well-being is paramount.

However, I encourage you to consider broadening the range of what you think your child may be capable of and allow your siblings, parents and cousins to bring new energy and sometimes greater confidence to the idea of what your children are ready to try.  In most cases, the consequences–a bump or slightly bruised ego on the part of the child–are extremely minor and can actually be helpful in reinforcing their sense that it is OK to take risks.

Most parents can’t bear to see their children hurt, uncomfortable or crying, even if it is for a very short time.  Extended relatives may have the objectivity and slightly greater emotional distance to allow for a different perspective on your toddlers’ capacities.  If you trust your family members and can relax into the possibility that others can also give your children confidence and help them grow, you may find your children growing a little more rapidly in unexpected and delightful ways.

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