Adult Children Parenting Teens and Tweens

Letting Your Kids Fail is Good Parenting

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Letting your kids fail is good parenting. There are risks in every decision. As moms, we encourage our children to try and try again, but sometimes it’s easy to skim over what failing teaches us. Sometimes it’s not as simple as getting back on that bike until you can successfully ride it. There are life decisions, especially as children get older, that are much more complicated. Try and try again doesn’t pertain to every scenario and believing that success must come after failure can be really harmful.

Failure is not as negative as it’s portrayed.

We’re often taught to believe that failing is disastrous, but letting your kids fail teaches them so much. Our inability to accomplish something doesn’t mean that we’ve either made a mistake somewhere or that something is inherently wrong with who we are. Failing is a critical experience, and it’s a strong guiding force in future decisions. With support, our kids can realize that failing can be a positive experience.

There is a lesson in every failure.

Life is an experiment. Every time your kids fail they learn something. As parents, it’s our job to protect them from the most drastic consequences, but we should also encourage them to get up and brush themselves off. If plan A didn’t work, don’t push them right into plan B. It’s ok to let them know that sometimes it’s time to go back to the drawing board. It’s ok to change your mind, change directions, change your path – no matter how long you’ve been working toward something. Sometimes, you have to scrap the plan completely or change some of the strategy and try again. Your kids will discover what went wrong and they will have you right there with them to help figure it out.

It’s about the journey.

Failing is not the nightmare everyone thinks it is. Even successful corporations are discovering that when their employees feel safe to fail, creativity and innovation soars. People are happier and feel confident that they can try something new without being punished. Your kids deserve the same freedom, and if you are there to prevent every tragedy, they aren’t going to learn anything. Failing builds confidence in that they can succeed if they keep persisting. Failing teaches that it’s ok to regroup and start over.

This is especially important as our kids start to venture out on their own. Our kids know that if things don’t go right, there is always a place for them with us. There is no chastising for not succeeding. There is only celebration in the journey, the learning, and the experience. There is only encouragement to figure out the next step. You don’t want to miss letting your children know that it’s ok to decide that maybe bike riding isn’t their thing, and that it’s ok to never learn to ride at all. Simply because your child fails at one thing, doesn’t mean they can’t succeed at another. The only way to know is to try and fail, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.


Let's Talk Parenting

It Isn’t Fair – Unless You’re the Cat

Getting Real With Veronic Ibarra

My daughter is very fond at age 7 to point out how unfair everything is around our house. It isn’t fair that she has to clean up the toys in the living room when she didn’t make all the mess. It isn’t fair that she has to feed the cats. It isn’t fair that she can’t go outside until her chores are done. It isn’t fair that we can’t go where she wants. It isn’t fair that she can’t have as much as an adult. It just isn’t fair.

Apparently her idea of fair is getting her way or everyone getting the same amount, but that isn’t how fairness works.

Fairness is when everyone plays by the same rules, but in order for that to happen everyone has to understand the rules and possess the same skill level. Explaining the rules of the house to my 7 year old daughter is easier than explaining them to my 3 year old son. Getting my daughter to understand that her brother does not understand is an hourly challenge. One of my favorites is when my daughter tries to argue that the cats aren’t following the rules either. Yeah, that one will always be unfair.

I know what it’s like to be treated unfairly. I mean, I rarely make any of the messes in the house, yet I have to make sure all of them are cleaned. I hardly have any opportunity to play with the toys, yet I have to put away all of the children’s toys. Why should I have to help with things I didn’t do? It is unfair.

It’s like in Labyrinth. Sarah keeps saying it isn’t fair every time something doesn’t work out the way she thought or worse changes from what it was to something completely different. But it can’t be fair. Nobody is following the same rules, and even those that are can’t always manage to follow through.

My 3 year old understands when we are putting toys in the toy box, and he’ll help get that done. However, once all the toys are back in the toy box the obvious thing to do for him is to take them all back out. My daughter then goes into her tirade about how it’s unfair that we have to start all over. I can’t say I disagree, but we take a deep breath and go at it again. All the while the cats peek lazily at us from their napping spots. Yeah, it isn’t fair.

Creating Balance Stepparenting Teens and Tweens

Raising Adult Children

The words adult children may seem oxymoronic, and while the term refers to any child you’ve managed to raise to the age of 18 or beyond, the ones I’m really talking are those kids between 18 and 24 who are technically adults but who still require a bit more raising (even though they don’t think they do). These kids require special handling. On the one hand, you can’t treat them as though they are still kids or even teens who require heavy handed oversight. On the other hand, you can’t assume they’ve mastered all of the skills necessary to navigate life’s land mines without a little bit of help.

Finding the right balance between giving these kids the freedom they need to grow and still being there to support them can be difficult. What’s more, each child will have different needs during this transitional phase. I’ve always felt that the best way to let a child learn to be an adult is to let them make their own decisions and choices, even when they differ greatly from what I would do…while being prepared to be there for them if things don’t work out the way they’ve planned.

The only way kids and young adults will learn how to cope in the “real world” is by gaining experience in it. It’s difficult for a control freak like me to step back, bite my tongue, and let things play out…but the results are often surprisingly successful. If you arm your kids with the coping skills, confidence, and self-esteem they deserve to have, they’ll be able to handle life, even when it doesn’t go exactly as planned.