What is the difference between helping versus hurting?
You would think that the answer would be obvious, but it’s not. Often people think they are being helpful, when they are actually unknowingly hurting the other person. Take parenting for an example. When a parent does everything for their child or prevents the child from having or feeling consequences, that parent is actually hurting their child. When a parent does this, they are giving their child the message that the child is not capable. The message that is sent to the child is that you are not capable to accomplish the task, you are not capable to figure it out, or to handle your emotions.
This actually emotionally cripples the child. You stop the child from growing, learning, and being able to handle life. By the time the child grows up, the child becomes paralyzed. The child now believes that he is not capable and therefore must rely on his parents for everything. The child grows up no self-confidence and no problem-solving skills which are critical for becoming an adult. The saying is “don’t do anything for your child that your child can do for himself.” That doesn’t mean that you abandon your child. It means that you guide your child, give her the tools to be successful, and believe that he or she is capable. Children want to learn, to grow, and eventually become independent.
Why is this so important?
If children grow up believing that they are not capable, they won’t thrive. They won’t try new things, they will be dependent on you or they will find an unhealthy relationship with someone who reinforces their belief that they are not capable. In extreme cases, they will turn to drugs, alcohol and unhealthy relationships because they won’t be able to cope with life, because they never had to or were allowed to develop these life skills.
If a child is given the opportunity to learn, grow, and problem solve, he or she will have a much greater chance of having a happy, healthy, and successful life.
Julia Manfre is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She has a Master’s of Education degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Florida Atlantic University. Julia is a psychotherapist, the owner of Self-Care Solutions, a private practice that specializes in empowering women, a podcaster, she hosts the Self-Care Solutions Podcast, a blogger, and a Keynote Speaker. She has years of experience working in substance abuse treatment, crisis, trauma, and women’s issues.
Julia’s mission in life is to empower women and girls. She was a product of divorced parents and was raised by a single mom. She grew up in the DC area or the DMV (DC, Maryland, and Virginia) as it is affectionately known, in a small town in Maryland. She was brought up a die-hard Redskins fan. She loves beading, sewing, ballroom dancing, and Wonder Woman. She is passionate about women’s right and women’s empowerment. Julia is married, has a 6-year-old daughter, Lily, and three guinea pigs named Wuzzy, Lovey, and Yum Yum.