Letting Kids Fail can Teach Life-Long Lessons
Every parent wants their children to be safe and avoid injuries whether they come in the form of physical or mental discomfort. Watching a child fail brings forth a variety of parental emotions. It’s a natural reaction, but as much as parents want to insulate them from the world, allowing kids to try and fail is the best teacher and they’ll be learning important lessons they’ll carry with them throughout their lifetime.
Children learn the same way adults do – trial and error – and it’s an effective teacher. Parents can warn children about consequences, but a child won’t fully grasp the concept unless they actually experience penalties. From forgetting their homework to leaving their bike in the driveway, a less than stellar grade or a stolen bike teaches a valuable lesson about responsibility and accountability for their own actions.
Parents that try to “fix” their kids’ grades –and succeed – are simply teaching their child that might makes right and that with enough power, they don’t have to take responsibility. Children know if they’re failing a subject and they may lie about it – until the report card makes it impossible to hide. While a bad grade isn’t a crisis, lying about it should carry consequences.
Part of the problem is that today’s parenting gurus equate good parenting with not allowing their children to experience “negative emotions.” Those feelings teach youngsters coping skills and how to avoid situations in the future that evoke those feelings.
There are numerous opportunities for learning and growth when parents take a step back. It happens with small actions from something as simple as learning to wait their turn in line. Kids learn qualities of patience, tolerance and responsibility. When teen drama occurs, parents should take a back seat and let kids learn to work it out on their own – the exception is if they’re being bullied in person or online.
Just as adults learn that failure to complete their tasks to the best of their ability and on time comes with consequences, so children learn through smaller examples in everyday life. Children that are allowed to fail grow up to become competent, responsible, resilient and empowered adults.
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