Being a first time parent takes a lot of guess work. We aren't born experts at child rearing and discipline. It is a lot of trial and error. I have experimented with different strategies. Some are complete failures, so I discard them and try something new. There are a lot of different theories on raising children. I believe that you have to step back and give them room to explore and grow. It is hard, but I try not to hover and fix everything for my kids.
My husband, Nick, and I have a daughter named Ada. She just turned two. We have tried to allow Ada to do things for herself. We want her to grow up to be independent and self confident. If she gets herself into a sticky situation, we try to allow her to solve the problem for herself before we step in and help her.
There is a water slide at our swimming pool. Ada just loves it. It is called an Otter Slide. It is wide enough for two people to go down at a time and about 30 feet long. Nick and I take turns sliding down beside her while we hold her around the waist.
One day, Ada decided she wanted to do it by herself. Nick is much braver than I am and he let her try. He stood at the bottom, ready to catch her. Little Ada walked up the stairs and sat on the slide. Without hesitation she counted to 3 at the top of her lungs and went for it.
All the onlookers were astounded. Nick kept getting asked how old she was. What they probably wanted to say was that we were insane for allowing a 2 year old to do that. If Ada was afraid or nervous, we would never make her do it. But she is fearless. So we try to encourage her to try new things. Sure, Ada gets hurt from time to time, but I believe it is important to teach her to pick herself up, dust herself off, and try again.