Failure IS an Option!

Posted on by Helena Eddings

Failure IS an Option!

It sounds counter-intuitive to suggest that parents should allow their children to fail, but hear me out.

Parents often want to protect their children from “the mistakes I made.” This is especially true of children past the pre-school age.

Of course, parents have an absolute responsibility to keep their children physically safe, but robbing them of the opportunity to work through disappointment and perceived failure deprives them of the opportunity to build resilience and confidence, of their ability to handle life.

Protecting children from the consequences of their behavior sends several messages. First, “you need me to handle this for you.” Next, “you do not need to take responsibility for your actions.” And, ultimately,” I’m willing to sacrifice your self-esteem so you aren’t hurt.”

Parents who share their own failures and how they dealt with them send the message that failure is not the end of the world but an opportunity for growth. It’s great to tell a 4-year-old, “Oops, I made a wrong turn and now we might be late. I’m sorry. I’ll try not to make that mistake again.” Do consider the developmental age of your children when you honestly share your imperfections.

Children are more willing to share their mistakes if they know you are non-judgmental. Parents who listen to their children and encourage them when things are going badly have the opportunity to practice problem-solving skills with them.

Send the message to your children daily that you have confidence in their ability to handle mistakes, learn from them, and grow. This is a true demonstration of your love for them and sets them on a path to independence and self-confidence.

Lynn Fisher,

Head of School 

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West Side Montessori is an independent, accredited Montessori school educating children 13 months through 8th grade (preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle school) with locations at 13587 Roachton Rd in Perrysburg, Ohio, and 7115 W. Bancroft Street in Toledo, Ohio.