Are Your Children ‘Fail-Proof?’

Almost done! I am down to the last few college applications! I work part time at a private school as a college advisor, working with with students to help them prepare and finalize their college plans. The past two weeks are my ‘crazy time’ as I finish writing all the letters of recommendation for our school and send them out by the Early Action deadline of November 1st. Writing these letters often causes me to think about our boys and what I hope someone in my position would write about them in a letter of recommendation as they apply to college in the future. Here is a theme that continues to come to mind this year…

This year, a theme on my heart as a parent is ‘Let them fail!’ It sounds harsh I know, and coming from a ‘feeler’ {as Myers Brigs would refer to me} it might sound a little out of character.

Recently, I have been burdened for the children I meet on a daily basis who are living ‘fail-proof’ lives. They have literally never been allowed to fail at anything in life:

If they forget their lunch, their mom flies in to the rescue.

If they don’t get their homework completed, their parent sends the teacher an email to give good reason why they should not lose points.

If they get in a fight on the playground, their parent comes to their defense as to why someone else was at fault.

If they don’t like a soccer coach/team, their parent requests the league move them to another team.

It seems like the ideal life to live in right? Mom and dad, who love you, come to your rescue. Their reality is that there is no need for a Savior as long as you’ve got a ‘good’ set of parents.

As a mom, I have have come to realize that I MUST allow my children to fail. I must allow them to suffer the consequences of their actions in order to learn how to make better choices, and I must begin NOW! Now is the perfect time to fail! At no other time, than when they are young, will they have less on stake than now. Each tomorrow brings about an older age, more responsibility, and harsher consequences.

I also want my little ones to know HOW to fix their those little failures that will result in big character:

1. When you aren’t careful with your drink, you can get wet. = You are careful handling your drink.

2. When you don’t eat dinner at dinner time, you will be hungry. = You eat what’s for dinner.

3. If you eat too much yogurt or cookies, you will feel sick. = You don’t overeat; especially snacks.

4. When you don’t share, others won’t want to play with you. = You share; you’re things are on loan to you from God.

5. When you don’t obey mom and dad, their will be a consequence. = You obey mom and dad the first time.

6. When you play with your paints and spill them, you won’t have any more to use. = You don’t play with your paints.

Simple consistency in everyday toddler/preschool consequences results in children who know that every behavior, both good and bad, holds a consequence.

Now, there will be times when your ‘super mom skills’ will need to come into play and times for you to swoop down and rescue your child. Just not everyday.

Letting your kids fail is hard to do. As a parent you want to keep them from having to experience hard things, but keep the end goal in mind. Reflect on how you want your children to be years from now… dependent on their parents probably isn’t one of those. Responsible, mature adults is most likely somewhere on your list. Letting them fail now will help them learn how to succeed in the future.

 

 

PG
Mackenzie is a follower of Jesus, wife, mama of two toddler boys, teacher at heart, and coffee lover. She was a lower school elementary teacher for over 6 years, with a master's degree in Reading, and is a certificated Reading Specialist. She currently works part-time at a private school allowing her more time at home with her little guys.

Mackenzie has blogged 680 posts here.

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Comments

  1. Great blog post! As a mom to a 3 year old and home childcare provider, I agree 100%. I think many failures that mom and dad remedy happen at our house. It’s hard to be the bad person, but I’m thankful they’re learning it early on somewhere!

  2. I would love to read this post, however, the background is under the writing so it’s impossible to read. Is something wrong with your feed?

    • Try refreshing your browser, I often have that happen with other blogs on my computer when I haven’t refreshed it in awhile. Please let me know if that doesn’t solve your problem! Sorry about the troubles!

  3. I really enjoyed reading this!!! Great honest truth:)

  4. So, so, so true! As both a mama and a teacher, I give you 2 thumbs up! Sometimes I think parents forget that letting your child fail equals making them independent, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Love it!

  5. It is always so tempting to rescue. Thanks for the great reminder!

  6. I recently blogged about letting my son fail now that he is in middle school (http://thedomesticatedprincess.blogspot.com/2012/10/letting-kids-fail.html). It is a challenge, but you are right in that children need to be allowed to fail to learn the real consequences. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts as both a mom and a college advisor!

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