In the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, the impetuous young girl Goldilocks breaks and enters the Bear family house, vandalizes their furniture, consumes their food, and ungraciously makes a mess of their bedrooms, all in the quest to find a “just right” experience.

While I do not advocate emulating Goldilocks’ uncivilized behavior, I have taken away a key lesson: finding a happy medium as a parent is a matter of consistent, compassionate experimentation!

When parenting, we can be too cold — hands-off to the point of neglect. We can also be too hot — over-involved, hovering helicopters. But our duty as parents is to raise balanced, independent children when possible.

Teaching your child to ride a bicycle may be the ultimate metaphor for parenting. Eventually, the training wheels will come off and you will be quietly shadowing your child from behind as they learn to ride alone. I have found that with practice, I can balance the level at which I engage with my children so as to allot them the autonomy and personal responsibility they crave to grow, even as I remain a ready support in the background if they need me.

The best part of parenting is that if you put forth effort, it is impossible to fail! Your inner knowing, your ability to use your intuition to find your “just right,” is the right way. I will mess up, you will mess up, and that’s okay! The best part is that tomorrow is going to be a different day, so we get to learn from that.

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