It’s Okay For My Child to Fail
Failure is hard to accept. I’ve failed…a lot. And I will let my daughter fail as well. Okay, Giada is only 14 months old, so her failures are minimal at this point. Regardless of her age, my wife and I have a pact that Giada will be doing a lot of self-learning, playing alone, and failing. It’s very difficult to let our children fail in any aspect of life. But life’s failures help prepare our children for the realities of life as a self-sufficient adult. Life is not always easy. Life does not always play out as expected. Constantly shielding our children from failure is a risky prospect.
Amy Morin is the author of a book called 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do. In an interview with the Washington Post she said that of these “13 Things,” shielding children from pain was the most common “thing” that mentally strong parents don’t do. She states:
“One of our tendencies is to step in front of kids and say, ‘I don’t want you to be sad or to deal with heartache or know how scary the world is.’ We protect them, and they don’t develop the skills they need. Then they don’t have the resilience to do it for themselves. By allowing kids firsthand experiences to deal with pain or emotions, they get to practice … Know they will fail sometimes and our job isn’t to be a protector but to be more of a guide, and we can coach them. That means taking a step back and letting your kids do more for themselves.”
End The Hovering
Amy’s comments on shielding our children is something I strongly support. I believe there is no better learning in life than to fully commit yourself to an endeavor and fall short of your goal, in other words, to fail. Sure, failure sucks. It’s emotionally trying and completely uncomfortable. Yet it’s my failures along with my successes, that have defined my path. Business and personal failures pushed me to grow my knowledge, to adjust my comfort zone, and to have new experiences. This expansion of skills positioned me to succeed in the future. Post-failures I was able to grow (and ultimately sell two businesses) and to achieve happiness in my personal relationships.
Our children need the same experiences in order to elevate their life skills. They need to have friendships that don’t work out. Classes in school that are a struggle. Chores that are challenging to complete. Sports goals they don’t achieve. Bad moods they need to get through. Coping with being “left out.” Fears they need to face.
Take a Hard Look at Your Parenting Style
Mental strength is like physical strength, it takes practice and dedication to achieve. Are you helping your child develop the mental strength they need to successfully navigate life? Or are you shielding them from failure … and setting them up for future failures when you’re not around to bail them out? Be honest…
To explore more of the 13 Things Mentally Strong Parents Don’t Do, check out Amy Morin’s page and book.