Allowing kids to fail (some) helps them succeed in the long run.
For a parent, watching a child struggle is difficult. Sitting idly by while they fail can feel downright impossible. No matter how tempting it may be to swoop in to rescue your child in times of distress, experts agree that this behavior is actually damaging to children.
According to psychologist Michael Ungar, head of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, “The point of parenting should be to grow a child who is capable of taking on adult tasks.”
Easier said than done, think many parents. And, worry can often drive parents to take control. But, these good intentions are destined to backfire.
“By not allowing children to falter or experience disappointment, you render them helpless—the precise opposite of what most parents hope to achieve,” explains Susan Newman Ph.D. in a recent article for Psychology Today.
Of course, “failure” comes in many forms. So, if you are ready to “give your child wings,” it’s important to create opportunities where the child can fail in a safe environment, learn from the experience, master a new skill and eventually become more resilient.
Some simple tips for parents include:
- Stop hovering. Step away when a child is learning something new.
- Create opportunities for success. The memory of repeated success builds resiliency.
- Resist the urge to simply tackle a task yourself, rather than watch your child struggle. They can’t learn if they never try.
- Don’t share your worries about competence with your child.
- Never label your child or compare one child to another.
- Although it’s difficult, try not to take it personally if your child doesn’t agree with you, or does things differently from you, or experiences failure.
What’s the best approach? Let your child experience the consequences of their actions and allow them to make mistakes, face consequences, and (within reason) solve their own problems.
Augustine Hills School: Where every student can succeed
At Augustine Hills School in Wilmington, Delaware, success is a learned behavior. The 1:1 teacher to student ratio means that your child can listen without distraction. They can speak and ask questions without fear. They can try and fail. Then, they can try again.
This revolutionary style of learning emphasizes academic success, mentoring relationships, and social remediation, if necessary. The personalized curriculum, combined with a nurturing and supportive environment, inspire a true love for learning.
Contact us to schedule a no-obligation school tour. Augustine Hills School is open M-F, 8:30-5:00 for tours and informational meetings.