Editor’s Note: We’re happy to have one of our foundation’s advisers and former board member Bhavani Munamarty chime in on the important topic of failure when it comes to raising children in a competitive age. What are your thoughts on allowing your children to experience failure? Do you have any other suggestions on how parents can refrain from controlling too much in their children’s lives? Please share in the comments section.
By Bhavani Munamarty, Chelsea Foundation adviser
How much is too much?
As parents, we are always on a lookout for our children and sometimes we tend to overdo it. Our intentions are to help them, but we end up hurting them in the long run. While it is our responsibility to teach them right from wrong, we should let them find their own answers in their own ways. In the process if they fail, let them. It will teach them valuable lessons. Most parents do not want their children to experience failure, forgetting the fact that failure is a great teacher.
It is not the failure but the fear of failure that cripples one’s mind.
A child who has never failed will miss out on some of the life’s toughest lessons like how to deal with disappointments, identifying fears and weaknesses and overcoming them, the risks we can take, looking at the brighter side of failure, taking responsibility for our actions even if things don’t work in our favor…to name a few. But, unfortunately, we think there is no room for failure in today’s competitive world. It is not the failure but the fear of failure that cripples one’s mind. A child who has never failed will live with that fear all the time.
Over-involving and over-controlling parents manage a lot of responsibilities for their children, including their schedule, making decisions on their behalf, selecting options that they perceive as right choices. There is a fine line between helping and hovering. We should stop controlling every aspect of our children’s lives.
Here’s what you can do to avoid this common pitfall:
1) Resist the temptation to solve problems for your child. Let them take charge. Take a step back and have them solve their problems. They will amaze you.
2) Encourage them to make a work plan and have them follow it.
3) Help them make wise choices, but don’t choose for them.
4) Let them be responsible for their actions and help them face the consequences.
5) Try to find a middle ground or find a win-win situation if there is a disagreement.
Bhavani Munamarty works as a Technology Specialist and teaches Computer/Technology to elementary students at a private Montessori school. As a teacher, she feels her job is to inspire, amaze, and engage the children and get them curious about technology so they can be a part of it in the future. She has two children, ages 10 and 12.