I recently read this BloombergView article written by Megan McArdle, titled, “Go Ahead, Let Your Kids Fail”. I think this is not only a area that children struggle with, but parents as well (heck, I’m almost 36 years old and I still strive for as close as perfection as I can get) but how do we learn if we don’t fail…Not succeeding at things or making mistakes (whether on purpose or not) are HUGE learning opportunities.
In the article the author referenced older children, but this is topic is still true for the early childhood group as well. I believe even more important for this age group because if they start young learning how to face challenges and that failing is ok as long as they tried, then they won’t feel as much pressure as they age and face more complicated challenges.
How many times in a day do we just do thing for our young children because it’s easier or quicker for us to do it rather than to let them do it? Things like putting their clothes on, zipping up their coat, or cleaning up their toys for them….granted, we need to make sure we aren’t setting them directly up for failure by asking them to dress themselves when they are 8 months old, but I think most of us are intelligent enough to truly know when our child is capable to start working on some of these skills. Now, we don’t have to sit there for 2 hours and wait until they master it, but give them time everyday to try on their own, this not only can be great exercise for their muscles but gives you a chance to reinforce to them that you have to work hard to learn things, that learning is not always going to be easy and you can work on giving them positive feedback for their efforts which can be a real self-esteem booster and they will learn that they aren’t going to get in trouble if they don’t do things correctly on the first try (or even the 10th, or 20th…).
A lot of children are scared of failing because A, they either don’t know how to handle the emotion, or B they aren’t quite sure how you (the parent) is going to handle them failing. Teaching them from a young age not to give up on things and to try is such a great social-emotional skill to instill into them and then letting them know that they are going to fail from time to time will help them learn to cope with that type of stress in a much more proactive way.
To view the article I am referencing, click on the link below: