Letting kids fail. Is that okay?



A child’s challenges should be met and not merely dismissed or avoided

kids, obstacles, learning, challenges

There’s a new form of parenting taking hold during these angst-ridden times. We are protecting our children from all challenges. Our homes are baby proofed; we pad our playgrounds, and even our eight-year-olds are in car seats.  We place monitors in kids’ rooms and on their phones. For some, this is to ensure safety, but for others, it may be a shortcut to shielding our children from potential disappointment.

Tonya Cotto has written in moms.com about how our safety concerns have morphed into the total avoidance of anything a child or parent dislikes or does not approve of, as well as any road locks between success or undesirable responses.

This results in a plethora of negatives, Cotto has found.

“The emotional response of obstacle-free parenting is controlling and costly. Rejection, unfairness, and failures are a normal part of life. It teaches our children not to be a victim and how to create healthy emotional responses,” she concludes after speaking with a number of child psychologists. “Obstacle free parenting can lead to children living in a protective bubble. The children live as the center of the universes, self-absorbed, dictating everything they want. This is more power than a child should have. A lifestyle of unhealthy dependence can result.

"There's constant monitoring of where their kid is and what they are doing, all with the intent of preventing something happening and becoming a barrier to the child's success,” sociologist Laura Hamilton, the author of "Parenting to a Degree: How Family Matters for College and Beyond,” says.

“Mistakes are not a bad thing,” the author concludes. “Experiencing the natural consequences of life are the best way to teach our children. A child who lives obstacle-free may lose sight of what is valuable—the ability to prioritize accurately what has value and what does not can be missed. In the end, a child may learn to short-cut everything to avoid feeling any discomfort, developing many unhealthy habits.”

The real question is ‘what obstacles should you allow your child to experience?’




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