Thursday, December 11, 2008
Helping our kids vs. enabling them
Sabrina and Max at his touch-screen computer. She always wants to do stuff for him.
Max is in love with the remote-control car we got him for his birthday (it was the Parents one from my list of developmental toys). He especially loves throwing it down the stairs from over the guard-rail on the second floor, making me think the car is not long for this world.
Max is having trouble pressing the button to make it go. After we opened it (I was so excited he tore the wrapping paper by himself), he handed over the control to Sabrina because he knows she can easily do it and he can't. This always breaks my heart a little bit. Tonight, he only wanted me to push the button.
It's a tough line to walk: doing stuff for Max versus letting him do things for himself. Max has a lot of challenges using his hands. He never developed that pincer grasp (which enables you to pick up an object between your thumb and forefinger) and he can't point, which makes it hard for him to press things. With enough determination, he usually figures out a way. Sometimes I step in because I see him getting frustrated. Sabrina is always glad to lend a hand. "Max needs help!" she says. This outpouring of goodwill is partly driven by love, partly driven by her desire to get her mitts on his toys.
As for the remote control, Max and I had a stand-off when I refused to keep pressing the button for him. Now he's in bed, sleeping happily next to the car. Tomorrow, I'll again try to coax him into pressing the button. Nothing like a pushy parent, right?