When Should I Let My Child Fail

Welcome to another edition of Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures. Today, I am going to take a stab at a tricky question from a parent that doesn’t seem to me as having an overly difficult answer. Sometimes, as parents, we would like to think we control a bit more than we really do.  I believe this topic falls into that category.

Unfortunately, I don’t know the background of the family or the circumstance in which this was written.  These types of questions though almost always mean there is a specific story behind the question.

For some of my consistent readers, the concept of failure may sound familiar to you.  I wrote a piece called Handling Failure (http://www.claytonpaulthomas.com/archives/50) in late January.  For my new readers, I’d strongly encourage you to check it out.  One of the ultimate forms of “failure” I’ve ever witnessed is addressed in that piece.  I decided to answer this question though because it is slightly different and it piggybacks off the prior post.

My first thought on this topic is that failure is a part of life.  Kids are going to “fall down” but as long as I can be there to pick them up if they need me, I’m OK with the falling.  I don’t want to protect my child from the feelings generated with failure necessarily because there is a lot that can learned from it.  For example, even toddlers learning to walk will “fail.”  Yet, they get up and keep trying.  Ultimately, the goal is achieved.

In my prior post, I talked about a girl not making a cheerleading team and the feeling behind it.  If I were a parent and I didn’t think my child was going to make the team, I’m sure I would still let her try. I really believe overly protective parents do more harm than good although their heart is certainly in the right place.

My second thought is that I don’t think I could have stopped my kids from failing- even if I wanted to.  But here’s the thing about kids that has always struck me as amazing.  They are resilient people.  It was especially true of my kids at St. Joseph who went through hell even before arriving to the facility (with various forms of abuse).  Therefore, if I can’t stop kids from failing and they are as resilient as I believe they are; why concentrate on the fear of their failure.

In conclusion, I believe kids are going to fail from an early age.  (Ever seen a child try to ride a bike without training wheels the first time)? It is my job as a parent to be there for them, wrap my arms around them, and help them through the struggles.  If I can accomplish that, the inevitable victories my child will be that much sweeter.

Thanks so much for reading this blog.  Please pass this along to other parents who would enjoy the piece.  I’ll write to you again Tuesday.  Have a fantastic Easter weekend!!!

Don’t Forget:

If you are interested in the book, Tantrums, Troubles, and Treasures, please don’t forget to use the code Aprilmail305 to get free shipping.  The offer is good until the end of April.  I am hoping to place some reviews on my site in time.  I’m pleased to report the immediate feedback received has been very good.  The preface, in its entirety, is still located at the top of the page.

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  1. Maureen says:

    Following you from the hop! Please stop by and say hi Areyouamom.com
    Thanks and have a great day!

  2. mikeross says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  3. Gina says:

    Hi Clayton! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm popping in from the hop as well. Looking forward to digging in to your writing!

  4. Couldnt agree more with that, very attractive article

  5. Red Nomad OZ says:

    Hey! Thanx for stopping by my blog!!

    And while I don't have kids, I like what I'm reading here. I think there's too much emphasis on success being an endgame in itself. But the 'failure' journey can be just as rewarding. If I hadn't 'failed' a few times, I wouldn't be where I am today – the fails made me reassess my priorities, strategies, goals and personal survival skills. All for the better!!

    Have a great Easter break!

  6. Annette B. says:

    Thanks for the follow, glad I could help the allergy situation lol 😉 You have a great writing skill, very involving reading for me. I agree, sometimes I think kids are cushioned too much by parents, not being let to fail sometimes. Keep up the great articles, I am going to dive in for further reading.

  7. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog and posts. Anyway I’ll be subscribing your feed and I hope to read your blog again.