Far too many of us bend over backwards to make sure that our kid’s road to success is smoothly paved without struggles, conflict or failure. Many a mom has been known to mercilessly plow down a teacher or coach who got in their kid’s way. And when parents over extend themselves, make excuses and offer cover ups rather than expecting accountability from their child, they are actually preparing that child for a life of pain not power.
Certainly, our shared end goal is to prepare our kids for success in school and later in the work force. To do so we must empower them with the skills that they will need to work their way towards success. That means that parents must step back as our kids learn how to be responsible for themselves and work hard, sometimes stumbling into failure. As much as we may want our child to be that star student, athlete or leader - if they do not work for it and earn it - they do not deserve it. An unearned trophy, grade or certificate is without true value.
A child who “earns” feelings of discomfort, uncertainty or sadness because of something that they could have done, but chose not to do, can quickly be taught the value of cause and effect. I do my homework and I get credit for it and feel good knowing I have completed my job. I don’t do my homework - but mom or dad calls in and makes up an excuse for me and I don’t need to feel bad because someone covered for me! Who has the power? Certainly not the child! And what have we taught that child? That they really don’t have to be responsible for their own actions. Someone else will cover for them . They have little to no power over their future.
Being a good parent is not coming up with excuses or fighting battles for our kids but rather teaching responsibility and accountability. Failure can actually be a valuable starting place when a parent couples it with guiding questions like, What was your role in this episode? How did that make you feel? What are your potential next steps? What will you do next?
By asking the right questions, offering supportive insights and sharing your love for your child a parent can actually make failures less painful and the road to future success more clearly visible. Making certain that your child has the essential problem solving skills to tackle an issue insures that they will have the tools they need to address future challenges, turning potential failures into successes!