Caretaker vs Caregiver

All of us have people we care about: mothers, fathers, children, extended family and close friends.  We want the best for them and we don’t want them to feel pain or endure hardship.  So when does caring for someone become caretaking?  Here are a few differences to help you distinguish between the two.

When a caretaking parent sees a problem, they want to fix it.  They take the responsibility on as their own and look for ways to make it better.  This does not seem so bad until you look at the message it sends to their child.  When a parent swoops in to “make everything right,” they are telling their child is that she is incapable of solving the problem herself or that she can not solve the problem as well as the parent. Ultimately, caretaking a child teaches her that she is helpless and has no power of her own.

On the other hand, those parents who take a supportive parenting role know that pain, although unpleasant, brings personal growth when endured and overcome in healthy ways.  They offer advice and support as needed but let the child come up with the solution.  It sends the message that the child is capable; that she’s smart enough to figure it out and strong enough to get through the situation.  It teaches her that she can do hard things.

So when deciding how to help your child, know that solving it for her ultimately cripples her, while supporting her in finding her own solution ultimately empowers her.