“I can do it myself.” My two year old son proudly announced as he attempted to snap the giant, brightly colored, foam, jig-saw puzzle – shaped play-mat into place. I watched as I saw him struggling to put the piece in the wrong place. I was about to go and do it for him, to show him that he had it in the wrong place, when my husband gently placed his hand on my arm. “He’s got this. Let him figure it out.” he whispered to me. I stopped and stood there next to my husband as we watched our son struggling with what must have seemed to him to be the biggest puzzle in the world. I watched as the puzzled, yet determined expression on the face of my son was transformed into a beaming smile as he realized the correct way to fit the puzzle together. “I did it myself! I did it myself!” my son said over and over as he celebrated this victory over the puzzle.
My son is now fourteen. Since then, there have been many “puzzles” to solve in his life, and with each one, I still had that inside desire to solve it for him. Yet, I gratefully think back to my husband’s wise words that day so long ago. “He’s got this. Let him figure it out.” My son doesn’t need a “helicopter mom” . He doesn’t need someone to continuously do things for him, show him the answers, or tell him how it’s done. These things will only hinder him in the long-run. What he needs is room to grow; room to figure things out and learn and discover this big wide world and all of the many puzzles which he will come across in the future. I’ll be there for him, to help him when he needs me, but I cannot – I must not “do it for him”, for he can “do it himself” !