Thursday, October 14, 2010

It is OK to let your children fail

Meredith Turney makes a good point in Immunized against Failure. She argues that one of the reasons why the United States has done well is because as Glenn Beck says: “The American experiment was about freedom. Freedom to be stupid, freedom to fail, freedom to succeed.” Our country has grown faster than others because by with freedom we have been able to make more mistakes, we have learned from them, and thus been able to do better.

This point also applies to parenting. As parents it is rough to see our children suffer. We try to protect them from failure, because we don't want our children to cry or be hurt.

But if our children are never allowed to fail, then they won't learn as much. It is a balance, we can't allow our children to make major mistakes like drink poison or play in the freeway, but we should let our children try out for a play, mess up on the soccer feel, be challenged by hard topics and so on.

It really is OK to let your children fail.


Julie Sobczak said...
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Jehu said...

Regarding failure, as a parent and remembering my own experiences, it's my observation that it's best to try to arrange challenges/games so that a child has somewhere between a 30% and 70% chance of winning. Too much less than that and frustration is extremely likely, too much more than that and there's inadequate challenge. For classes, the ideal pace and challenge effort is the level at which you have to significantly stretch to make the equivalent of a 'B', and an A is a highly noteworthy event. Of course you wouldn't put such on transcripts for external consumption though as a homeschooler, because the world expects and demands massive grade inflation.
For public school kids, frankly, sports are about the only times they get to operate in this challenge envelope.

Henry Cate said...

You make a great point. Some winning is good. Too much or too little is bad.