In this age of helicopter parenting and parenting as a competitive endeavor, it’s important to remember that there is no better way to learn than from our own mistakes. If we don’t allow our children the opportunity to fail, the chance to make mistakes for which the consequences are modest, then we cheat them out of important learning opportunities.
Here are 5 of the best mistakes you owe your child the opportunity to endure:
- Forgetting their lunch. Seems really simple, but no child ever died of starvation from missing lunch at school a couple of times. All of our lives we will need to be responsible for remembering tasks. Forgetting to bring lunch to school is a nice simple mistake with predictable and acceptable consequences that every child can afford to make. This counts not just for lunch. It can include homework, sporting equipment to a practice session etc. You can fill in the blank here.
- Spending their money and not having enough left for something they want. Children at a young, and not-so-young age can benefit from learning to budget for the things they want. If we simply allow ourselves to be the piggy-bank for every desire we don’t give our child the chance to learn to make financial decisions as they mature.
- Learn to calm themself: As an adult having the ability to calm ourselves when things are not going our way is an important skill. As parents of infants, toddlers and youth it is tempting to quickly step in and help comfort our child when they are upset. Sometimes this is mandatory and appropriate. Other times giving the child the chance to help themself by thoughtful ignoring or casual observation for a bit first, and allowing them to develop self-quieting skills can be an early step in helping them to acquire this key life skill. Nonverbal touch is a good parenting skill to learn to help with this in your young child.
- Fail at Business: Lots of kids want to start a business of some sort. It may be selling lemonade, mowing lawns, delivering newspapers or collecting sports cards. Unless the endeavor is one that your family values just cannot allow strongly consider allowing your child to try and succeed or fail on the merits of the business. If they want to sell lemonade help them buy the ingredients, a good lesson in credit here if you loan them the money to buy the materials, and in business planning If they price he lemonade too low, they will lose money, too high may lead to no customers. Many great entrepreneurs have failed at early business ventures. Why not get the first one or two under their belt before Jr. High?
- Pay the consequences: If you child makes a mistake, it’s important to be very selective in the times you choose to protect them from the consequence s of a mistake. If they learn that there are natural consequences of behaviors, and that Mom or Dad is not going to bail them out from every situation they find themselves in as a result of poor choices, they learn to make good choices. If they learn that they are immune to natural consequences because a parent rescues them consistently then they are likely to make choices as an older child or adult where we cannot escalate our interventions to the level needed to avoid more serious consequences. If you refuse to wear mittens when you go out to play your hands get cold. If you spend your money on candy you don’t have money to buy the comic book you want. Later in life if you don’t use condoms you get an STD or pregnancy. Learn from the little mistakes so you choose not to make the big ones.