Allow Some Failure

 “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche


Remember the kid raised by wolves? Some experts might say he had the best parents ever. It could be because the wolves were literally hands-off; no car pools, no nagging, no checking the school website, and I assume the wolves didn’t have to tell the kid not to eat junk food – the ultimate “free-range” parents.

Michael W. Anderson and Timothy D. Johanson, authors of the book GIST, say parents should be more wolf-like. Anderson and Johanson write that it’s a tough world out there and the sooner your children prepare for life’s ups-and-downs, the better off they will be. Oh, and some failure is definitely an option; in small doses it can help your child become stronger.

Take the wolf kid again, for example. Let’s say he is trying to catch a rabbit for dinner but gets distracted by a bird up in the sky and the rabbit gets away. Oh, well, the kid goes hungry that night and voila, he learns that he needs to stay focused!

But seriously, parents, one of our main jobs is to teach our children life skills. Show them the ropes. Give them the tools. Then back off. Helicopter parenting does not help them fly out of the nest (mixed metaphors notwithstanding).

If we allow our children to struggle a bit and even fail at times it can help them learn how to navigate some of life’s inevitable rigors unscathed.  Check out the book GIST; it’s got some helpful, interesting philosophies (and, I might add, some views I totally disagree with).  All children and families are unique so as with all parenting advice, pick and choose only what could work successfully for your family and discard the rest.

By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator

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