No one ever said parenting would be easy and if they did, they LIED! It’s by far the most challenging yet rewarding job I’ve ever had. It’s a mixture of happiness and sad times, with a ton of crazy “I need a break” moments.
When we bring our children into this world, we are instantly encompassed with a different form of love, one that we never even knew existed. It consumes our mind, body, and soul with the purest love there could ever be. The kind of love that asks for nothing in return, where you will do anything to protect your child, where their sweetness blinds you to never see anything but good. This is why we take the sleepless nights, the constant feeding, diaper changing, it’s why we worry about them and give them the world as much as we possibly can. I love my children with all my heart but there are days when I seriously have to excuse myself and walk into a closet so I can scream/cry or just hide from them. This doesn’t mean I’m a bad mom or that I failed them; it just means I’m human.
This is only my opinion, but I firmly believe that our biggest failure as parents is when we protect them from failing. I repeat - we fail our children when we protect them from failing!
Stick with me here for a second and let’s allow this statement to sink in.
This isn’t to say there aren’t other forms of failure as parents, because there are tons (way too many to even list) but I want to only focus on us not allowing them to fail and what it creates in the long run.
Have you ever seen parents letting their kids fail at something? It’s rare to find a mom/dad that sits back and watches his/her child fail and learn from their mistakes. If you are one of those parents, KUDDOS to you!! I’m trying hard to join you!
When we keep our kids from failing, we think we are helping by protecting them from feeling sad, embarrassed, etc. When, in fact, what we are doing is creating a reality for them that does not exist.
Basically, we are setting them up for failure! In what world do you know of everything happening the way you want it to? It simply does not exist and I’m glad it doesn’t because it’s through my failures that I became the person I am today. You see, it’s in our failures that we learn the most; it’s what makes us strong and determines the level of effort we give to the things that matter most in our lives. By protecting our children from experiencing failure, we are depriving them of excelling in their adult lives or even knowing the value of their success. One can’t understand the significance of his accomplishments without fully knowing how hard it was to get there.
Okay, so let’s dive into how we can go from protecting our kids 24/7 to letting them fail. Let’s be real here, making this change will take time, lots of it, but it is definitely achievable.
Here are some motherly tips that might help:
1) Be their biggest cheerleader but DO NOT intervene or do it for them. STEP BACK MOM/DAD!
A perfect example of this is sports. Cheer your child on, but don’t jump into the game. Your only job here is to provide support... verbal support to the WHOLE TEAM!
Homework is another perfect example- Help them think through a problem versus giving them the answer (which sometimes is the easier way out).
*This concept does not apply to bullying! If that is occurring PLEASE intervene and speak up! There is nothingI hate more than bullying.
2) Give your kids space to grow (goes hand in hand with #1)
By protecting and shielding them from failures, we are making them dependent on us, which will continue into adulthood. However, if we start giving them room to grow early enough, they will become independent and successful because they’ve experienced the mishaps beforehand.
3) Trust your kids to make the right decision
Our children are smarter than we know and when given a chance can achieve greatness. Instead of babying them, see what happens when you repeatedly tell them you trust and love them and provide them with some form of responsibility. They likely will run with it and do the best job ever because they want to make you proud.
4) Stay consistent and make sure mom and dad are on the same page
I don’t know about you, but I was notorious for going to my dad for something when my mom said no and vice-versa. It worked perfectly too because my parents were divorced. Don’t get conned by your kids! If they come crying to you (which they will), stay BRAVE, and do not give in. Simply be honest with your child, discuss the lessons learned and tell them that he/she is already becoming a better/stronger person because of it. Explain that life is full of surprises and that this is not the end.
Our job as parents is to instill our values, guide them as they go through life and trust that we have given them the tools to do life their way! Remember the goal is to have our kids want to be with us instead of needing us. We want them to be effective & independent adults who are confident in themselves.
I hope this blog post helps you or someone you know. As always, I’d love to hear from you. What are some of your failures in parenthood? Do you over protect your children?