If you can’t do something perfectly the first time, then why bother trying? Failure isn’t an option, right?
In your head, you probably said “No, of course, it’s okay to not do everything perfectly. Sometimes, you have to try multiple times before getting it right.” But, in all honesty, this is not what we are teaching our children.
We are so quickly running ahead of them to mow down every obstacle that lies in their paths, to make life easier, that we are preventing them from experiencing failure. We are stopping them from developing the ability to bounce back after a fall, to learn from their mistakes.
If we understand that it is through failure that we learn, then why are we so readily preventing our children from acquiring that important life skill? It is entirely possible that we are creating a generation who will have little to no ability to face struggles and overcome obstacles. What happens when mom and dad aren’t there to clear the path ahead?
We’ve all heard the terms: “snowflake” and “lawnmower parents.” Many of us brush those labels aside as stereotyping or claim “not my kid.” So, let’s look at a couple of examples.
Recipe for a snowflake:
- If Billy doesn’t want to be your daughter’s friend, call the teacher to intervene.
- If your child is sitting the bench during an important game, explain to him that it’s the coach’s fault for not seeing his brilliance on the field.
- If your child doesn’t like her teacher, call the principal to fix the problem.
- If your daughter doesn’t make the cheerleading team, it was the other girl’s fault for distracting the judges while she was performing.
- If your son forgets his homework even though he had numerous reminders, race home from work to rush it back to his school and explain to the teacher that it was your fault he left it on the counter.
- If your daughter plagiarizes an essay, explain to the teacher how she didn’t know it was wrong to copy from the internet.
So often, parents are displacing blame and denying children resilience-building experiences. We make it someone else’s fault so our children do not feel bad about themselves. This creates an environment where it is never okay that the child is at fault. It proves to them that it is unacceptable to make a mistake. It says, “You must be perfect all of the time.”
But no one is perfect. No. One. We are setting unreachable standards by removing all obstacles. Our children can’t cope. They can tattle and complain really well, and they are masters at manipulating their parents to help them; however, they aren’t able to fight to succeed. Even Rocky Balboa understood: “…it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” If our scientists, doctors, teachers, and firemen gave up the first time they failed during their jobs, we’d have no scientists, doctors, teachers, or firemen.
You see, failure isn’t an option… that’s true… it’s a necessity!