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How to Enable A Child

Updated on October 7, 2017
Ericdierker profile image

Holding degrees in philosophy and Law. Formal studies or certificates or degrees in business, theology, insurance and security. Ex-preacher.

Dad I Just Said a Complete Sentence!

Pleasure in achieving
Pleasure in achieving | Source

1,2,3 Let Us Get To Enabling!

How To Enable Your Child

Believe it or not some people think that enabling is wrong. I reckon they have never been enabled. My mom enabled me. So I have some fancy pantsy degrees. I enabled my elder children and they all stink with their fancy pantsy degrees. My youngest I do declare I enable and he is some weird thing like being above his classmates by a grade.

I am wrongful as I enable him to do hugs and kisses and prayers before even getting to the bathroom where I enable him to brush his teeth and wash his face every morning.

I enable him to fall off of his bike. I also enable flowers to grow.

I just love this word “enable”. How about supporting someone and making something easier for them. It is the ‘negative word nannies’ that try to make the word pejorative. Even in psychiatry/psychology/sociology the word does not mean something negative. Yet we think it is. I really dislike commandeering words with over stereotyping their meaning.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enabling someone. Of course it can only be made negative by what we are enabling. Gambling, drinking, smoking and overeating are just some examples. And on the flip side there is no negative direction as to who we enable. “Helping” is a cool similar word.

Do we enable the panhandler to get drunk by tossing him a fiver? Sometimes maybe and sometimes not maybe. Part of good enabling is not the direction that we may insist another go. Let me rephrase for understanding. Sure I love to enable someone to be happy, I mean real happy and not momentary pleasure. So if they ask for it I will also lend some direction along with my enabling. That is more in the helping direction and we must be careful. If we enable so that our plans for someone else are met we really are not enabling but rather controlling.

I give my youngest son colored pencils, good art paper, crayons, good lighting, and read him books with pictures. The next thing I know the boy is drawing instead of watching his IPad. Give him a toy sword and the next thing I know he has been enabled to save the princess from the evil knight. Leave bowls of awesome fruits, berries, veggies and nuts laying around and before I know it I have enabled him to love eating healthy.

Perhaps The Greatest Enabling Ever

The Greatest Gift Is To Enable Happiness

A Free Joyful Child.
A Free Joyful Child. | Source

Enabled To Overcome Resistance With The Freedom To Fail

Somewhere back somewhere I heard that homes with cool magazines and books lying about produced children 10 times more likely to do well in school. We had both encyclopedia Britannica and Funk and Wagnall’s lying about. I got my first library card long before kindergarten. My danged family was encouraging and enabling me to read and learn. Can you imagine if I cussed them for enabling me? And yes we had National Geographic’s in the bookshelf right next to the world’s largest dictionaries. My dad insisted on several and suggested always cross-checking.

Is a hand up an enabling gesture? I think so if it is sincere. Let us take a look in a philosophical and not political way at programs from the government meant for those in need. I would suggest that a program from the greater group to a lesser group can be good enabling or bad. No matter the art, whether I agree or disagree with the expression, I think of it always as positive. That is just me as I do not want free market enterprise to determine what art is and what is not. Scholarships in schools I feel are positive as they either give a hand up or reward for excellence.

Incentive type enabling seems OK to me. But I am nervous on that as hedge fund operators should probably not be enabled except by obedience of the law. I have no issue with getting to play an electronic device after 30 minutes of reading and writing summaries.

One time I was enabled in a seriously flawed way. I was in a type of Outward Bound program in the middle of the Grand Canyon. We were told there was a spring at the top of a grueling hike. The desire to get there in 110 degree heat enabled us to overcome the obstacles. The bitch of it was that the spring referred to was an old wagon spring. Not funny. And yet very funny as my older brother was waiting just below a ridge with gallons of cold water.

So a challenge is a way to enable. I got my doctorate very much because people said I could not. They enabled me to do it in spite of them. I am sure that my wonderful marriage had some of that to it. Does a bad mom enable the daughter to be a better mom? Interesting isn’t it?

What of the enablement of each generation doing better? And there it was laid out for me. All of my parents failures and catastrophes as a generation. They were the tail end of the greatest generation. But there they were taking the 5th and yet stepping out of the witness box and demanding better by both action and words. They did not think that my time would be better by providing. They were damn sure that my life would be better if they taught me to accept responsibility. As for me and mine we were enabled to do better by knowledge and an understanding of fortitude. I was enabled by honesty and faithfulness to a grand work ethic. (please excuse I went all creative rather than 9-5, the hours are weird but the hard work the same) But have no doubt I was enabled to fail. How cool is that?

Enabled Not To Keep Up With The Jones's

Enabled To Love

The wealth of Love.
The wealth of Love. | Source

Do Not Forget To Enable Yourself

Now on to that child. And perhaps when we say that we should include the child within all of us. Children both adult and young need security. A blanket or a net. An open home for recuperation from a big boo boo. Again for young and old children. What joy for a parent to be able to help, perhaps the greatest gift of all. No we do not wish our child hardship but in fact it is a great pleasure to help them back up when they fall off their bike of life.

I am hard core about enabling my children to fail. They have a room in my home which is theirs for the need. I have blown it so many times that it is not funny. And I was enabled by those around me to blow it again. But not the bad shit and not money. I mention money here because I think that is negative enabling. I just cannot fathom a notion that continued financial bailout is good. Money gets given for the first time out and for the elderly. Except for those two I see no positive value in enabling with money. I wonder about money being a root of problems, I just wonder.

So the enabling of a child comes down to a very core human capacity. No matter how screwed up the parent the child seeks approval. Words help here. But they are not the end all. So we do all the above jibber jabber and come down to a simple truth.

Absolutely no matter what, I love you. This is the most enabling statement of all and truth be told it can enable wrong behavior as we know from the prodigal son; in case you care Luke 15. And in that case we again see money as the root of evil and yet love as enabling a return to family and good.

They say fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. But that does not apply to enabling a child with love. Fool me 7 times 77 and I still love you.

Please enable not only your physical child but enable yourself with love, kindness and forgiveness.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Bede.

      I love to think of the wheel going round unbroken.

    • Bede le Venerable profile image


      14 months ago from Minnesota

      A child enabled is a child with wings. Hats off to the children enablers! Our future is in the hands of children who learned to fly...

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Devika we are sorting our rocks and listening to Kid Creole. Qestions abound and we break out into a short dance party. My elder son's music is at hand. We went out into our garden and picked dandelions for mom though there are about 30 rose flowers to give.

      My stuff needs to be stuffed. And I am required by God to learn from my child. Who enables who I wonder.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      17 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Enabling children is an important part of a child's life.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Oldest Mission in the West service, time to play slaying dragons, one book read and the promise of getting into the wave. Morning calisthenics and pancakes and fruit. Our children also enable us to lead a fine life, thanks kids!

      Thank you Dora. I have this inkling that as time has passed from your mom you will redirect toward youth. You know they need you.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      17 months ago from The Caribbean

      Eric, you're such an enabler yourself, with all the love and other character values you promote on this writing site. If we have eyes for the good in others, we will find a ton of opportunities for positive enabling. Thanks for underscoring that.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Diane, thank you for coming by and commenting.

      I would say it was about 25 years ago and our schools were teaching an equality concept. It went so far as children were thinking that being told to do something without their input was disrespecting them. "now it is time to do your homework" was not showing respect.

      Our pendulum must keep swinging for us to find the sweet spots.

    • DMChristiansen profile image

      Diane Mayer Christiansen 

      17 months ago from Glenview

      Really great article! So happy that you have begun to set the record straight. Positive reinforcement, kindness, love, respect and understanding are the foundations of healthy children, thereby healthy adults. I don’t know why, as a society, we don’t understand these most basic concepts.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      17 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Sorry about that Bill. And I still have a sermon to publish. I was resisting publishing. As I have articles stacked up like planes in Chicago O'hare during a blizzard.

      There probably will be a second one published on this topic. As mentors like the great teacher that you are was poorly addressed.

      Thank you for your encouragement/enabling ;-)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      17 months ago from Olympia, WA

      What the heck, two of Eric in one morning? I'm way over my limit. LOL

      That photo of your children together...looks like a group picture of enabling to me, miserable all around, wishing their father hadn't ruined their lives.



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