Mom To Mom: You Need To Let Your Kids Fail

It seems a bit counterintuitive to how we’re taught to parent our kids, but we need to embrace allowing our children to fail more. Why? Failure allows critical thinking to develop and realistic expectations to be set.

If we are always catching them before they fail, they will never learn from mistakes and grow as people. We are there to guide them, but not hover and prevent all possible let-downs. Easier said than done, right? As parents, we don’t want to see our child disappointed, angry, or sad, so if we can prevent possible heartache, we naturally try to intervene. 

Learning to let your kids fail will help them develop invaluable life skills, and though letting go, in this way, can be hard, it’s important to their growth. Here are some tips to help you (and your child) navigate these times together.

letting your kids fail

How I Learned To Let My Kids Fail

Be Willing To Be Needed Differently

Give feedback and guidance rather than answers. Ask questions that help your child reflect on what they want, who they are, what they care about, how they feel, and, ultimately, what they should do as a result. When it comes to things like school, we can take the same approach. Take a risk on the small things, like homework. Put your kid in charge and assume the role of coach. Remember that the consequences of messing up one assignment, or even a few, are not life-altering. Let your child build their own routine, ask for help and engage with their teacher. 

Don’t Be The Martyr For Your Child

It’s natural for it to feel uncomfortable to let your child fail. But I can assure you, if you’re there to catch every issue before it falls to their responsibility, you are teaching them that they do not have to take ownership for their own behavior. Martyr parents are typically anxious parents who are trying to eliminate that issue from their own children. Watching their child go through a tough situation only amplifies their own stress, so the parent will go into “fix it mode.” Doing so, unfortunately, robs the child of experiencing the trials a challenge will bring. 

Who Said The Easiest Path Is The Best?

If you fall into the category of the kind of parent struggling to let their child fail on their own, it’s totally normal. We love our babies and don’t want anything to harm or upset them. Try to think of it as you “love them enough” to let them fail and form into the capable adult they are learning to become. As our kids get older, the youth entitlement problem leads to a needy society, incapable of critical thinking. Guiding them as they use their own methods of problem-solving builds confidence that will nourish them into young adulthood.

It may feel foreign, at first, to watch your child struggle with a task or situation, but use these tips and tricks and feel a sense of accomplishment alongside them when they solve the problem on their own. Stepping aside and allowing them to figure it out is also a win for you! Remind yourself that you won’t be there for every strain your child will go through in life, and sooner or later they will need to develop these skills on their own.

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Parenting is 99% guessing if what you’re doing is the right thing, so if you misread a situation and overstep with the help, that’s okay. There’s always the next kid crisis to practice on, and trust me, there will be another crisis. You got this!


How do you handle failure in your family? Are there any lessons you have for helping teach parents to let kids fail? Share with us in the comments below!

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