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Why we should let our children fail

As a mother, there is nothing pleasant about watching my children fail a task. I have spent the majority of their live making sure they are set up for success in every possible way I can offer. From friendships to school projects. From expectations in our home to excelling in a group, I am devoted to the success of my children.  

For example, there is a chore chart. The responsibility is on the children to remember their tasks, do the work, and record when it's completed. They receive pay only for the work that is completed AND recorded. I know their earning potential and how it directly ties to the goals they have set for themselves. I want them to succeed which means motherly love kicks in and subtly reminds them of their responsibility. Sometimes they still don't budge. They still forget to do their work so I remind them again. Then I tell them that next time they are in their own. Sadly the cycle repeats. 

Or take the dreaded school project. My children both desire the grade that much effort awards, yet from time to time neither are willing to put in the work. Lack of focus, poor time management, and yes pure laziness finds its way into their routine and sabotages the project. Being the super mom I am, I want to save the day! I jump in, look over their shoulder, and push for excellence. The problem, I want it worse than they do. I mean they said their goal was to get the best grade. They have emotionally anguished over this, and I know they have the potential to succeed. Yet they aren't always willing to do what it takes to accomplish what they want.

Not only does this cycle strain our parent / child relationship, it takes a toll on the development of them becoming healthy adults. You see, somewhere deep inside me in the land of wisdom I know that the greatest thing I can do as a parent is to let my children fail. When a project isn't completed and money isn't earned, I need to let my children own their choices and the results they produce. 

Understand, I love my children dearly and find it extremely difficult to let them fail. What I know (although I don't always practice) is that it is better for them to fail on a small stage where the stakes aren't so high than to one day open them to the whole big world not understanding the concept of failure and trying again. 

The truth is one day they will face failure. One day no one will be there to put the final touches on a project or remind them to do their work. If I'm not careful, that one day could come while they are on a much larger stage. A day in adulthood when a company is depending on them to push through a project because it impacts thousands of lives.  A day when a spouse is depending on them to uphold a commitment. A day when a child is looking to them for guidance. 

I know it is in the moments I allow my children to fail where I am setting them up for their greatest success. It's in those moments that I come in as a teacher, a nuturer, and a cheerleader. I dust off the rumble, review the circumstances, and work hand in hand with them to create a plan to nail it the next time. 

Do you find it hard to let your child fail? I know I do. 

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