“Never Do For a Child That Which They Can Do For Themselves”

Jul 1, 2021

You will never know what your child is capable of unless you allow them to try! I know it’s hard to watch your child struggle with something, like opening lids on a jar, or tying their shoes, or trying to pack and lug around their sports bag, but did you know that when you constantly do things for your kids, you might be “programming” them for “learned incompetence” or “learned helplessness”. This is in contrast to your child positively learning that they can do things for themselves, they just need to build their competence and confidence to do so, and you can help them by letting them “struggle” a little bit. So as long as they are at the age where it’s appropriate for them to do that task, such as tying their own shoes at 5, or carrying their own baseball bag at 8, then you help them build their confidence and skills to handle their own problems in the future, instead of being in a state of perpetual helplessness. In this episode, I unpack all of these points as we dive into the Rule of Thumb “Never do for a child that which they can do for themselves”. [as taken from Child-Parent Relationship Therapy (Bratton & Landreth, 2019)]
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Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.

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