Family, Kids & Relationships

Psychologist offers best parenting advice — here’s one easy way to put it into practice

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Showing your child how much they matter may be as easy as asking them for guidance once in a while.

Psychologist, best-selling author, and speaker Adam Grant says most parents do a pretty good job looking after their kids and making them feel loved, but fall short when it comes to helping them build resilience. One easy way to do it: Ask them to help you solve problems.

When Grant is nervous about a big speech, for example, he often asks his kids for advice about how to manage his anxiety. Whatever their response, just asking for their opinion shows children they matter, which helps to build their confidence and boosts self-esteem. 

Of course you probably shouldn’t ask kids about topics that are either way too mature for their age or that would make them worry too much about the stability of their home and family. But examples of genuine problems that you could ask them to help solve could include:

  • A minor disagreement at work, and how/whether you should respond
  • What to make for dinner, when everyone has differing tastes
  • What to wear or bring with you for a big event
  • How to change a habit, like biting your nails
  • How to get pests to stop eating your garden veggies

Reminding kids that they have the ability to make a difference in someone else’s life can be a powerful realization, even for younger children, Grant told the European Sting newspaper during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, recently. 

So the next time you’re not sure which direction to turn or you need suggestions about how to tame your jitters before a big work presentation, ask your kiddo for their thoughts. Chances are it will be good for both of you. 

The former Content Director at Parenting, and several other brands, Ana Connery is a writer and content strategist whose work appears in USA Today, Reader's Digest, Real Simple, Cafe Mom/The Stir, Momtastic, and others.