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  • Writer's pictureP.E.T. South Africa

3 Good reasons to let your child fail and not feel guilty about it

As parents, we are often eager to place ourselves between our children and failure. We want to protect our children from hurt, embarrassment, sadness and bitterness. But the irony is that your protective shield could be causing more damage than you think or intend to do. Not exposing your child to experiencing failure and the big emotions that come with it, controlling every step of the way, can lead them to believe they have no control to change a situation at all, so they don't even try -- we call this learned helplessness.

It's important to embrace life's hurdles in a healthy manner that will help your child grow on a conscious and unconscious level. Here are four essential ways to deal effectively with failure.

Protecting your child from failure will lead to more anxiety

Instead, teach your child about failure, how it feels, and how to approach it; we've all been there. No matter how minor the incident of failure, negative emotions like disappointment, frustration, and anxiety are part of the package. Children need to be able to acknowledge these feelings, effectively communicate what they are feeling, and then deal with the problem at hand. By sweeping failure under the rug, you will rob your child of valuable life skills that will benefit them in adulthood.

Children need to learn that actions have consequences

There are positive and negative consequences to every action we take. A child needs to learn that their efforts will impact the desired outcome. For example, you will fail when you don't study for a test. This will teach your child personal responsibility and self-discipline and promote creativity and ambition. Once a child realises that taking action is within their control, there's very little that can stand in their way.

Mistakes help children grow

Making mistakes is a fundamental part of your child's development. Without ever making mistakes, your child will never learn. Once again, a mistake can lead to negative emotions like embarrassment, guilt, and doubt, but it is still crucial for your child to deal with these emotions effectively. In addition, mistakes will teach your child to think creatively, process, and ponder before taking action in the future, which becomes a valuable skill to have later on in life.

The most important thing a parent can establish in a child's journey through life is a safe space to fall back on should they stumble. Allowing your child to fail doesn't mean your child needs you less; it's quite the opposite. A child raised in an environment of unconditional acceptance is much more likely to trust and seek advice from a parent than a child who feels their failures will only be ridiculed.

"Stepping aside and realising that no real harm is being done to them or you is the first step in understanding that you don't really have to say no to everything that they attempt to do." - Georgina Watson

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this communication is not to be construed as medical advice. Consult a professional on any medical or psychological concerns. The articles and blogs are posted only as opinion or ideas, and are general in nature. The administrator takes no responsibility for any action or outcome a reader may make as a result of reading a post.


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