Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are we doing a dis-service in our parenting?

As I sat there listening to my oldest sons fear about making a mistake, I realized that we are doing our children a dis-service. 

With all of the touchy feely parenting and teaching going on these days I believe a critical component of growing up is being glossed over and lost for this generation.  Plain and simple - they don't know how to lose.  Instead of the old school A, B, C, D and F, our children get a numeric "fluffy" grade.  Instead of 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place there is a trophy for all, frequently without scores at games being kept.

I understood and appreciated this for awhile, but now as my kids have gotten older it has become painfully apparent that they are so afraid of losing that they are anxiety messes at times.  I would call myself the ultimate mother bear, so protecting my children comes number one to me, so it isn't easy to say I want to see my children not succeed at something, but I see that it is an important trade off to help them build crucial character for being successful adults.

Children these days don't know what it is like to "lose" because they don't have the experiences of losing.  But what I feel is far more important about losing it not that - losing, it's the ability and experience in picking yourself back up and trying again with a spirit of there is always another chance.

It broke my heart when I realized this.  It's so important that kids have the chance to learn about failure in a safe nurturing environment so that when the time comes (because inevitably everyone will fail at something) they have the self confidence to pick themselves back up and try again without being completely paralyzed by the failure.

Listen to every billionaire out there and they will tell you that in the real world you will have doors slammed in your face and you will make mistakes.  It's not the mistake that defines success, it's the determination to get back up and try again that will determine the success.

With our children growing up in economic times like this we need them to have a persistence and keep trying attitude that will ensure they become successful.  Another word for it might just be entrepreneurial spirit...

Do you have any parenting insights you'd like to share?  We are all on this journey together, I'd love to hear them and share them if you'd like to include them in a guest post!

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