Learning Through Failure
When it comes to teaching kids certain lessons you as a parent should step back and let failure do its job. I know it is hard to see your child fail and suffer but it is a necessary part of growing up. When you protect your child from every consequence their actions elicit then you are not allowing them to learn how to fail.
Learning to fail is important because failure is a part of life. When your children grow up they will not be successful in everything they do. As you get older the consequences to your actions get bigger and bigger. For example as a child if you blow your allowance on candy and make yourself sick you get a stomach ache and you have to wait until your next allowance to get what you really want. However as an adult if you blow your paycheck on a night out with friends you not only get a hangover but you also do not have money to pay for rent or food.
Allowing your children to mess up is a great way for them to learn hard lessons early. That does not mean you let them get hurt as in the dad that let his baby fall off the bed so “he would learn”. However if they choose not to do their homework and then can’t go on the field trip or if they decide not to clean their room and then do not have anything clean to wear those are lessons that are best learned at a young age.
The point is that everything escalates as your child gets older. You cannot protect them from repercussions forever. The child that thinks it is okay to ignore the teacher in first grade will be the same child who thinks it is okay to drop out of high school in tenth grade. By protecting your children from the repercussions of their actions now you are setting them up for larger failures later on. Some of which cannot be rectified.
Whenever I hear about a teen being arrested all I can think is how bad their parents must feel. We do everything we can to protect our kids but at a certain age it is out of our hands. If you have not allowed your children to experience failure and learn from it at a young age then a lot of times they will end up in big trouble; trouble that is not easily erased with a call to the teacher or a half-given apology.
Do not get me wrong. I am not advocating a totally hands off approach to parenting here. Children still need guidance and protection when it matters. The idea is to tell them what is wise to do and then if they do not listen to you let them learn the hard way and do not clean up after them. Yes you will end up with a lot of broken and messed up things around your home, but is it more important for you to have a perfect house or a child that is learning?By constantly giving your advice without making the child do it they will eventually learn that you may know a thing or two about how things work.
I am exasperated by parents who threaten their kids and then do not follow through. If you are following this method of parenting then you are in for a lot of trouble in the future. What is cute and manageable rebellion in a three year old will quickly turn into a nightmare as they reach their teens. However if you start out young and teach children that there are real consequences to their actions every single time you will have a better adjusted and more stable child.
I have noticed that only children and babies of the family have the hardest time with this idea. I think this is because many times siblings and peers give your children the biggest attitude adjustments. Though a group of adults is apt to overlook a child’s mistake or soften their reaction to it other children are not so genteel. However this is a good thing. Social pressures are often great molders to stubborn kids. Where mom and dad can’t get through friends and siblings often can. They may have a rougher way that they teach these lessons, but many times the relationship between the children is even stronger after they have been corrected. This does not mean that bullying is acceptable, but there are certain childhood behaviors that help to keep order on the playground and should not be curtailed by overprotective parents.
I have heard a lot of parents talk about tough love, and in a way that is what I am talking about. I think that you can have a strong and healthy relationship with your children and still not be a pushover. Remember that children do not need another friend; they need a parent. Building a relationship with them means that you talk to them and explain how the world works. They can choose to listen or not but you will find that if you are patient they will often come around to your way of thinking. Remember that rules to not make a strong child, relationships do. Once you have taught them about respect, thoughtfulness, and consequences most rules naturally just fall in line.
As I said, I know it is hard to see your child fail and not help them up, but that is a part of the learning process. Assure them that you will be there for them and give them a hug, but do not solve the issue for them. Instead let them deal with the consequences of their actions so that they can grow up to be responsible and thoughtful adults that can function well in the real world.
Nancy Parker is a regular contributor to www.enannysource.com and she loves to write about wide range of subjects like health, Parenting, Child Care, Babysitting, nanny background check tips etc. You can reach her @ nancy.parker015 @ gmail.com.