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3 Parenting Tips – "My Child Acts Helpless!"

By Jean Tracy, MSS

Could 3 parenting tips turn your "I-can't" kid into an "I-can" child? You bet. Look inside for 3 parenting tips you can use today.

Whose fault is it when your child acts helpless? If there's a person who treats your child like a prince or princess and does too much for your child, tell that person to stop. They're making your child, weak, dependent, and helpless.

Why Kids Act Helpless:

Your Sally wants to get out of chores. She whines loudly over and over, "It's too much! You make me do everything!" You can't stand your princess being upset, so you make the bed and put away most of the toys while Sally drags her feet. Since the whining worked, she'll whine again to get out of chores. Rescuing your child is a great way to teach helplessness.

Your Sam hates homework and cries, "It's too hard." He goes to you, Dad, and makes a big fuss. You can't stand the crying, so you grab the homework and yell, "Get out of here!" You just want peace and quiet. Sam learns that crying works. You do the homework and he runs out to play. Rescuing your Sam is a super way to teach him how to move through life without trying.

When your child whines, cries, or complains and you or someone else runs to the rescue, your child learns to be helpless. He'll use those tactics over and over.

How do you break the cycle of helplessness?

First Parenting Tip – Avoid doing for your child what your child can do for himself

Why? When you or someone else jumps in to rescue, you're telling him, "You're right. You can't do it. You're helpless. I'll do it for you." You've taught him to give up easily, become a whiner, and drown in a sea of helplessness. Sadly he may never know the good feeling of accomplishment.

Second Parenting Tip – Use the technique, "First this, then that"

When Sally wants to watch TV, say, "First clean your room, then you can watch TV."

When Sam wants to eat a snack, say, "First do your homework, then you can make yourself a snack."

Don't let crying and whining break you down. Be respectful and firm when you use, "First this, then that." Be consistent too.

Third Parenting Tip – Use your eyes to see and your tongue to encourage

Remember your child wants to feel loved and respected just like you do. So use your eyes to see what your child is trying to do well. Be encouraging when your child tries. Your child will love your words and be more willing to try more things. How to encourage your child to say, "I can!"

When your child is whining, crying, and trying to get you to do his responsibilities, be firm and say words like:


1. You're good at figuring things out.
2. You have a big, strong brain.
3. You can do it.
4. I know you can because you've done it before.
5. I believe in you.

Some parents say, "I'm not going to baby my child with such praise. She should just do what I tell her."

To those parents I say, "If what you're doing isn't working, what have you got to lose by trying these parenting tips?"

Conclusion for Turning Your "I-Can't" Kid into an "I-Can" Child:

Don't let your child drown in a sea of helplessness. Rescue less, encourage more by following these parenting tips -


1. Avoid doing for your child what your child can do for himself.
2. Use the technique, "First this then that."
3. Encourage your child's positive efforts.

Be consistent, firm, and kind in your efforts. If you do, you won't be complaining, "My child acts helpless!" You'll be building character instead. You can do it. I know you can.

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Jean Tracy, MSS invites you to receive 80 Fun Activities to Share with Your Children when you sign up for her Free Newsletter at www.KidsDiscuss.com You'll find simple tips for parenting kids, a loving family, and a lasting marriage.

Pick up 75 love notes for your children in Jean's Parent Affirmations Kit Focus on the good in children and you'll receive the best from them in return.

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