Learning how to let kids fail... Help!


New Member
As a parent of two, 7 (with-ADHD) and 13, something my parents never prepared me for... Was how to let go. How to let my own children learn through failure.

Am I alone in feeling this way?

I wrote an article to better articulate my thoughts, but am I "way off track"?

As a parent, I speak from experience when I say it's natural to want to protect our children. It's heartbreaking to see our children, tears in their eyes, crying over broken toys and broken hearts. I would gladly be the first to stand in harms way to shield both of them.

But there's a disclaimer.

Sometimes they NEED to fail.

It's hard to swallow, but one of the toughest jobs a parent has is to allow our children to fail and not do anything. While we do our best teach kids the difference between right and wrong, leading children to solve problems and navigate the waters of life, there are lessons that we simply can not teach. And hard as it may be, letting them visit the school of Hard Knocks every once in awhile, where pain is the schoolmaster, does give children needed skills for life.

Now, I'm not encouraging you to create hard times or hard situation. Honestly, those circumstances will inevitability show up without you having to do anything. But when you see your children, faced with having to find a solution to a problem or mess they created, you don't always want to intervene. By allowing a child to work through problems, even if they're struggling with a solution, you allow them grow.

Think back to your own life, and look for the times when you were forced to "figure it out on your own". You obviously survived. And you did it with your own skills and talents. So, would you want to cripple your children by not letting them gain those important skills? Or the pride that comes with overcoming obstacles? Of course not! Just take comfort in the fact that trial and error has been a part of the natural process since the beginning, and no animal in the kingdom is immune. It's simply a normal part of maturing.

The real devastation happens, when we as parents don't instill a sense of self worth, self esteem and confidence to pick themselves up, after making a mistake. So, rather than rush to your children's aid each time, instead try to be the first one to encourage them through the process. Because even though failure is an ugly word, the other side of it is Success. You can't have one without the other. Let them know that you believe in them, that you're excited to see them breakthrough, and that you love them, no matter what.

Many prayers!


Active Member
Hi Brian - nope I don't think you're on the wrong road at all. It is called detaching and is something that those of us with the older ones face daily and sometimes more than once per day!

Hound dog

Nana's are Beautiful
Protecting our kids is important. Guiding them, which includes allowing them to learn from their mistakes, is even more important. I am a firm believer in natural concequences.

Good article. I don't think you're off track at all.

Afterall, our children will have to go out and function in our society eventually. Like all of us, they will make mistakes, and will have to be able to learn from those mistakes in order to succeed.