Why I Will Let My Children Fail

Why I Will Let My Children Fail

My kids are just in preschool right now, but already they understand the concept of taking pride in their own work. The first time a child colors in the lines, or completes a building block project on his own, and receives praise for a job well done... well, that's not a feeling I ever want to take away from them. It builds confidence and resilience, traits that are essential if they are going to emerge from our home as well-adjusted adults.

I'll admit that I was a pretty independent child and young adult. I think it was a combination of nature and nurture, but I know that when I was in high school or at university, the idea that my parents would do any work for me was embarrassing. It would have meant that I lacked the skills to do it on my own, and that was horrifying to me. We felt bad for the people whose parents would interfere on their behalf ...except when it worked or they got the best grade in the class as a result; that just made us angry.

I will help my kids with their homework, but I won't do it for them. I will nag them about whether they've studied for the test or have started work on a project. I might even run to the store late at night if they've underestimated the materials they need to complete that project. But if they wake up one morning and say, "Mom I didn't study as much for that test as I should have. Can you write me a note so I can be sick today and write it later?" The answer will be no. They'll be mad at me, but in time I think they'll understand.

If I've really done my job right, they won't even think of asking in the first place.

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