Letting them fail

This post isn’t about a particular skill I’m teaching Annie, so much as it is a skill I have learned myself, and am applying to our transition practice.

In my previous job, I sponsored Parenting with Love and Logic three times. I attended every class all three times. At seven sessions per course, three hours per session, that’s sixty-three hours of Love and Logic classes. After the third time, I came away with a very simple truth:

You Have To Let Your Kids Fail

All kids, typical or otherwise, need to do things, get things wrong, and come up with ways to fix the mistakes. (I’m not suggesting you don’t jump in after them if they’re drowning. I’m talking about failures that don’t have life and death consequences.) If you step in every time they’re about to oversalt the meat or clean the mirror with wood polish, your kid will never learn to do it the right way. You stepping in only confirms to your child that:

  1. They can’t do it right.
  2. You can do it better.
  3. You’re going to fix it anyway.
  4. They might as well stand back and let you.

We all want to do things for our kids. We don’t want to watch them struggle. This well-intentioned parenting philosophy leads to kids who lack the know-how, confidence, and decision-making skills.

Love and Logic teaches that you need to let your kid do it, fail, and learn so that they can go off into the world as a successful adult capable of making good decisions. And maybe that’s your truth, too. For me, and for many other parents of kids with challenges, the stakes are higher. We are going to die one day, and our kids must be prepared to live in a world not designed for them. If that keeps you up at night, you’re not alone.

I manage that terror by teaching my daughter to cook her own food. By teaching her how utility bills work. How to clean her own bathroom, do her own laundry, and by letting her fail.

For those interested – you can check out Parenting with Love and Logic at their website www.loveandlogic.com

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