When one helps a child on demand, does the child's tolerance for frustration go up or down? Down, of course! As such, the child begins asking for help more and more often. He begins acting less and less competent and more and more needy, helpless and inept. He's likely to begin saying things like "I'm stupid!" and "I can't do anything right!" His mom is equally likely to interpret that to mean he needs even more help than she is already giving. And the situation spirals downward. And mom feels like nothing in her life has ever been so stress-filled as raising a child.
Your children do not know what they are capable of until they are forced to push the limits of their capability and in so doing expand them. My mother understood that, as did most of her female peers.
I figured the math problem out, by the way. My mom was right about most things.
Family psychologist John Rosemond: www.johnrosemond.com