Help kids succeed by letting them fail

As parents, we want to see our kids do well. We want them to succeed. But success isn’t always easy, and at times we may want to help our kids more than is good for them. A recent article at The Atlantic highlights this.

The problem is when the grade becomes more important than the learning. The purpose of the grade is to show how well a student understands / has mastered the subject. If parents go beyond helping with homework by doing it for them then the kid doesn’t learn what they need to. What they do learn is that they aren’t responsible for their homework. That their parents will bail them out when they don’t do the work.

The same thing applies when the child forgets to bring their homework to or from school and the parents then bring the homework to school. The lesson here is that they don’t have to bother to remember what they need. Again, their parents will always be there to do what they should be doing. Ultimately this is an organization problem that needs to be fixed.

You didn’t ride a bike right away; you fell down many time. You failed many times until you succeeded. You wouldn’t be a good bike rider if you always had your parent holding the bike to keep you from falling down. Children won’t learn what they need if they always have their parents covering for them. Sooner or later we all end up on our own in the world. Our children need to learn to do things for themselves and accept the consequences if they’re not good enough. Then they’ll learn to take life seriously.

Another thing: As a teacher, I see kids as they are in school, away from their parents. Kids act differently at school. There are some parents who don’t (or won’t) believe that their children lie or bully other kids. I see what really happens, and when I talk to some parents who refuse to accept that their kids could be anything other than perfect it shows that the kids have learned that they don’t have to be responsible. These kids are learning a really bad lesson that will come back to bite them in the future.