Letting Our Kids Make Mistakes

Letting Our Kids Make Mistakes | ToyaGames

Letting our kids make mistakes is easy to say! It’s hard to see our kids get hurt, and it’s hard to see them make mistakes. We’d like their roads to be golden all the way, and if we could take out all the rocks, sticks, and potholes from their paths we’d do it, no matter what it cost us. We can’t. But we can soften their environment in their first years of life, and if we’re really onto it, even through elementary school.

A mama bear helicoptering over her child, wherever that child goes, can prevent a lot of falls, scraped knees and tears. Here’s the question: does it do that child any favors?

No Mistakes, No Strength: What’s Wrong With Helicopter Parenting

The answer is no. It just doesn’t. Helicopter parenting ends up hurting rather than helping children because, like or not, they’ll all have to face the world sometime.

As a tiny little girl, wanting to learn how to ride a bike, my daddy gave me one piece of advice. The most important thing in learning to ride a bike, he told me, is to learn to fall. He was right. Once you’ve learned to fall without a fall being disaster, you’re well on your way to being a bike rider, and all that it takes is more practice.

Life is like that too. The most important thing we can teach our kids is how to fall—how to pick themselves up, dust off the road dirt, patch up the skinned knees, laugh at themselves, and move on. A hothouse flower who has never faced any wind has no chance of thriving in this wonderful but wild place called life. One who has learned to laugh with the wind? No problem there!

Letting Our Kids Make Mistakes | ToyaGamesHow do we raise resilient kids; kids that can handle failure, can handle pain, and know how to move on? Here are three practical ways:

  • At the playground, let your child experiment with danger, and pretend you’re not watching even if you are. If he wants to climb up the slide tube on the outside and you feel like running over and hovering behind him to catch him if he falls, restrain the urge. If you must watch, do; but pretend your nose is buried in the book, and don’t let out a scream when he does fall. A simple “Are you okay there?” is enough.
  • Don’t get emotional when your child get hurts; instead, model empathetic calmness and encourage your child to see that the situation is not the end of the world.
  • Don’t scold your kids for mistakes made in homework or household tasks, unless the issue is simply sloppiness or inattentiveness. Explain the problem, talk about how to do it better next time, but give your child freedom to be less than perfect while learning something new.

Kids who can make mistakes are kids who can be creative, can learn, and can grow stronger rather than weaker with every wind that shakes them.

Raise an oak, not a spindly hothouse tomato plant.

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