Children commit various levels of mistakes – tying their shoelaces wrong, hurting a friend’s feelings, cheating on an exam, lying to parents or physically putting themselves in danger.
In addition, watching your kids make mistakes is unnerving. You want to mend the situation to avoid your child from suffering or experiencing stress. However, if you correct their every mistake, your kids will never learn right from wrong. Depending on the severity of their mistake, they will enter adulthood unsure on how to handle certain life lessons or make light of a serious situation. They run the risk of depending on others for resolutions.
How would it feel to have someone make all your decisions for you? You would not make mistakes, but would you really be living at all? In the new movie, "The Giver", an entire community was stripped of their rights to decide for themselves, and it crippled them as human beings -- allowing them to have neither pain or happiness. Why would we want to do that to our own children?
There is nothing wrong with helping your kids once in a while or when they are in physical danger. That’s what parents are for. Nevertheless, there is a limit. Try not to overextend the help. Give them a push in the right direction without giving them the answer. Allow your kids to go through the motions so they can figure things out on their own.
Here are three reasons why it’s sensible to allow your kids to make impractical mistakes:
When your child makes a mistake and you are quick to fix it without an explanation, he is learning nothing. The only thing registered in his mind was mom or dad took care of it. You want to steer away from that. For example, your child’s teacher notifies you that he lied over a school project that was due days ago and will receive a failing grade. Instead of asking the teacher for a second chance, let your child pay the consequence, which is a failing grade. This way in the future your child will think twice about lying. He now knows what he did wrong and why.
As a parent you know if your child is or is not ready to partake in a certain activity. But your child insists. Instead of protesting, give him the opportunity to move forward. If it works to his expectations, wonderful. If it doesn’t work out as he expected, then he becomes aware why participating in that activity was a mistake. This will encourage your child to make better decisions in life.
Mistakes boost a child’s confidence. Through their errors, they will develop coping skills and slowly begin to realize how their decisions can make or break them. They will feel confident to comfort the challenges of life without fear of falling and never getting back up on their feet.
Allowing your kids to make mistakes doesn’t mean you want them to fail. You just want them to learn about life through their own experiences and grow into strong-minded and responsible people.
Mayra Bitsko is a freelance writer, the author of A Second Chance and The Past Beckons and holds a master's degree in business administration-accounting. Contact her at www.mrsmbitsko.com