My oldest child has only been on this earth for three years yet he seems to know just about everything. Typical behavior of an eldest or only child and precursor for what is to come down the line. You see, there are some kids who swear the stove isn’t hot until their fingers get burned. You may be older and wiser but they know. And, while that solid sense of confidence will serve them well in many areas, it will also be the source of a few hard-knocks.
I am pressed to say one of (if not the) most difficult aspects of good parenting is allowing your child to fail, stepping away and green-lighting a few bumps on the head. Why? No one knows everything and understanding that is one of the greatest lessons learned. To be successful adults our children must be confident and teachable.
Now, that doesn’t mean you actually usher them into dangerous situations or remove boundaries. It simply means, as a parent, you understand that you can’t save a determined know-it-all from discovering fat meat really is greasy. For example, most tween and teenage girls are aware of the consequences that often come with sending nude and semi-nude photos to crushes and boyfriends. In fact, many have had discussions with their parents. Still, they send them and learn the hard way when the entire eight grade retweets Jonathan’s twitpic and bullying begins.
Sure, it is hard to watch your baby suffer; but, growing pains are a part of the developmental process. If you’re always acting as a buffer, how does your child learn that every action renders a reaction—some good, some bad. Playing savior only hurts our children in the long run.
In a nutshell, the solution to dealing with a child who thinks they know everything is to let them figure out they don’t through consequence. Once you have provided them with truth and guidance, the choice is theirs. After all, it is not a parent’s job to control their child’s life but to teach them to make decisions today that they will be pleased with tomorrow.
LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and columnist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio. Visit her blog Politically Unapologetic for more on love, life and culture, or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.