What kind of children are we creating? A common fear that parents face today when they see unprecedented behavior of children around them. Right to have everything in life seems to be the new mantra of childhood these days. Of course, as a parent, it is difficult to see your child fail at something. It is hard to see disappointment and sadness in your child’s eyes. However, more and more experts are now calling out parents on this new obsession with protective parenting. As adults, we admire professional advices from successful leaders around the globe regarding how failure is a great teacher and how it makes us strong. Well, big news! The same goes for your child. No matter how hard it might seem, learning from failures foster responsibility, confidence and success. Let’s educate ourselves with concrete reasons identified by experts on importance to let your child fail.
1. They don’t TRY unless they FAIL
The utmost responsibility of a parent is to bring up their offspring to be successful human beings in future. The goals can be of any nature from education to job position, from being a good human being to exploring the world. However, any success in life comes with lots of disappointments and failures. A child forgets to complete his homework on time or forgets important notes at home. If you run around to do his tasks for him, how do you expect him to become responsible in future? They can simply relax in this regard as they know you are there to look after their duties. The rule is simple, children will only try if they have seen the consequences of their irresponsibility.
The shame, anger or sadness they feel after being penalized will motivate them to be more careful in future and organize their chores better. This is one of the main reasons to let your child fail and learn.
2. They miss out on nature, fun and activities
In the past, falling down from swings, bicycles, beds and getting hurt from trying out activities in natural settings was fairly common. Mothers would ignore small scraps and children would recover from their minor hitches within seconds. Nowadays, even a scratch on knee causes parents to panic who immediately forbid children to go out in open and explore their natural skills or running, jumping or falling for that matter. The result is also pretty obvious. As soon as kids see their parents’ panicked reaction, they manipulate it to their use and cry their lungs out and end up with some sort of treat. The same child would forget about their pain in seconds if parents are not around.
While kids are still innocent souls to grab on this opportunity, the onus of responsibility falls on parents. Because of this, not only does the child loses his/her ability to handle pain or response to pain, but this often results in increased fear of nature whether its parks with rides, swimming areas, zoo with animals or any activity that involves physical exertion.
3. They see Power as a substitute for Responsibility
Here power can mean many things. From parents taking stand for their child’s irresponsibility in front of other parents or teachers, money they can use to make things easy for the child, or tantrums or threats from child that can get them anything they want. It is a common sight to see children hurt others and parents coming to their defense instead of reprimanding them for their behavior. Similarly, most parents often give in to their children’ demands for new gaming console or toys if the child threatens to hurt himself or starts crying.
Such acts teach a child that they can get their way if they or their parents have the power to get it done for them. However, in real adult life, power comes with responsibility and adults are held accountable for their actions. And in that life, parents are not there to protect their children. People, who were never prepared to face consequences for their actions in childhood, are then left stranded and emotionally disturbed as they are not prepared for this reality.
4. They cannot learn to Struggle
An overprotective kid can never understand the meaning of struggle considering he has been given a special treatment all his life. Struggling on behalf of your child is actually a disservice to them. Parents writing notes to teachers to cut slack to their child for low performance, to give child lead role in class plays or choirs even when they don’t deserve it or use any kind of influence to get them into good colleges or jobs, all makes your child weaker. Such children are never able to face challenges in life and give up hopes early since they don’t understand the concept of struggle.
Children need to understand that struggle does not necessarily pays right away, that life, sometimes, is unfair and how they need to keep struggling to make their own way. They should be able to handle disappointments and failures like a true sportsman to move ahead in life.
5. They cannot handle competition and lose empathy
World is pretty competitive, even for small children. From getting in good schools to participating in higher level sports to obtaining high grades, it is all highly competitive. However, most parents take this competition personally and act on behalf of their children. Parental interference in various aspects of child’s life to ensure their success often gives them advantages over their peers. For instance, many parents complete art projects or science fair projects for their children instead of being just helpful. This gives an undue advantage to the child compared to kids who are putting in efforts according to their age.
Such successes might bring delight to your child for a short term but they lose the real essence of competition. For them, it is all about winning by any means instead of a healthy competition among equals. Such children become incapable of handling fair competitions in future while losing empathy for other participants. This does not turn out well in future when they face real challenges or competition among colleagues. Therefore, they might not be able to handle failure resulting in feelings of resentment, envy, jealousy or enmity with people they can actually learn from. If you understand reasons to let your child try, fail and face consequences, they can handle this competition better in future.