Let Your Child Fail

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Has your printer ever broken down? Did you try to fix it yourself – open doors, poke about, lift latches, peer under trays to try to find stuck paper, try a whole slew of various options until you got it up and running again? You probably felt pretty good about having fixed it and you are now probably very familiar with the workings of your printer and what to look for if it ever breaks down again. You are also able to take that knowledge and use it if another printer fails. If none of your printers has ever broken down then you are probably not very knowledgeable about how printers operate.

If your child is not allowed or is afraid to fail, she is deprived of the opportunity to truly understand her world and how it operates.  If your child appears to be struggling to put on his shoes, don’t jump in to do it for him – this will really make him feel like a failure. Remember, for children the process is more important than the product. He may be enjoying what he is doing.  Leave him to work on it. Doing something for a child is only a kindness when she can already do it for herself.

Failure is an opportunity to acquire a more in-depth understanding of what you are trying to do.

Children cannot be good at everything but they have a tendency to focus on what they are not good at and can feel like a failure because of it.  Help your child to understand this.  If they can’t button up their coat, use a knife and fork, hop on one foot – don’t deny their feelings by trying to make them feel better with statements such as, “oh, I think you can button your coat really well,” or “you are a wonderful hopper!”  Much more honest to just acknowledge matter-of-factly that, for the moment, they can’t do these things and then point out something they can do well

Unless you like the idea of your child believing that you are infallible, point out some areas where perhaps you didn’t shine and what you did about it. Did you master the skill at a later date or did you remove this element from your life? You can remind your child that he will have this choice later in life too.

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