Updated: Oct 13, 2021
keep things real with you. I may be a counselor, but I’m also an educator who has helped
hundreds of children of all ages and their families for over 20 years. Because of this
experience, I want to talk about one subject that I think gets left out of the conversation:
letting your child fail.
Now, hold on – I know this idea is probably making you wrinkle your foreheads right now.
Parents are taught to believe that having their children succeed is the most important thing.
I’m not going to disagree that everyone, from parents
to educators, wants kids to do well in school and
graduate. But I’m going to say something a little
controversial: kids need to experience a failure to get
to that point of success. In my line of work, I’ve seen
helicopter and lawnmower parents manage every
aspect of their kids’ lives, from the classes they take to
the sports they play. Many people are familiar with the
helicopter parent concept, but what is a lawnmower parent, you may ask? This parent will
stop at nothing to see their child successful. They will chop down anything in their path. But
what happens when the parents can’t be there all the time to make things easier – when the
kids go off to college or get jobs?
These kids, who their whole lives have never learned how to function independently, are
suddenly at a loss. Their lives have been so micromanaged that they wind up struggling
and unfortunately, this occurs at the point when the cost of failure is highest. I’ve seen kids
go from straight-A students in high school to flunking out of college and ending up on their
parents’ sofa. Is that what you want?
None of us wants to see someone we love struggle, especially our kids,
but there needs to be a balance, or you can harm your kids in the long
run. The solution? Practice stepping back and gradually giving your child
more independence while they’re younger – before the cost of failure
becomes too high. This independence will provide them with the
experience and strength to handle themselves in adversity when they are