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Father and daughter gardening together.

Room to Grow: Fostering Confidence in Children

Author: Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS
Published Date: Tuesday, August 10, 2021

“I do it myself” is a phrase that I have heard from each of my children. As they get older the phrase becomes more sophisticated, but it all comes back to their desire for independence. In my relatively short seven years of parenting, I have learned that giving them room to grow is necessary and that each stage of development looks different. When my children are learning new skills, such as dressing or buckling their car seat, it looked like me having patience (an ongoing work in progress) and creating space for them to do those tasks without being rushed. When my daughter was learning how to ride her bike, it looked like me finally letting go and allowing her to implement the skill that we worked on without being by her side cheering her on. She needed the space to focus without a first-row spectator.

I am learning that creating the space for their growth and development is more of an art form than an exact science. There are times when they will need me to do a task for them, other times when they need no assistance, and moments of coaching in between. The biggest takeaway for me is to read their cues and understand what they are capable of in a given scenario.

My 5-year-old daughter recently made a request to be back in a group environment without mom or dad. As our world began to open, we took the opportunity to enroll our older children in summer camp. The first day, she was so ready for soccer and drop off was a breeze. She was also in a familiar space with some familiar faces. The subsequent days, she was still excited, but she needed more support to get to the group. As I held her hand and we crossed the field, I worried how she would separate from me. She seemed nervous but sure she wanted to stay. A beautiful moment occurred when an older student popped up to greet her and held her hand out to lead the rest of the way. In that moment, her confidence grew, and she was ready to engage.

There are times when our children can sit in the tension between ‘I am ready’ and ‘I am nervous.’ There are other moments when they will have to push through their fears and times when they just need us to be right there with them. When we make room for growth, we see other beautiful moments occur – new friendships are forged and other supportive adults can speak into their lives. I have also witnessed a great sense of pride as they accomplish a new task or skill – “all by myself.” As I watch them mature, I am truly in awe of their growing confidence to try new things. When they feel supported, prepared, and loved, the world is their oyster.

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About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS

About Jeane N. Liburd, MA, CCLS Jeané Liburd has worked in the field of child Iife since 2005. She earned a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy and is trained in play therapy. She currently serves as an adjunct instructor for Liberty University. Throughout her career, she has provided services for children and families in various settings including hospitals, pediatric hospice, and community programs. The focus of her work is supporting children and families who have experienced illness, grief, and loss.