Please! Let Us ALLOW This Generation to Experience and Navigate Disappointment and Even Failure. It’s a Part of Life and Sad to Say, They Do Not Have The Ability to Deal With it!
Do children today have the freedom to fail or to experience the consequences that come from accepting responsibility for their choices?
Something in the culture, and specifically in our educational system and the ways children are parented, has been drastically modified.
That change is seen every day in the ways that children are insulated and isolated from most things that a generation ago were seen as the norm of everyday growing up.
What do I mean by that? Well, for one thing, failure on any level is unacceptable. Many parents, but surely not all, will simply not allow or permit their children to fail…at anything, lest it damage their psyches for life.
Really? Yes, really. Resilience, borne of surmounting and overcoming challenges that come their way, was common place a mere generation ago, has all but disappeared.
Whether it was not being picked for a team sport where there were, dare I use the word, “tryouts” and not making the cut, or getting a less than stellar grade such as the “gentleman’s C” of long ago, today is met with huge push back from parents.
The playing field of life has been leveled to such an extent today in the growing up years, that children, when they do inevitably face the dictum that “Life is unfair,” will be gobsmacked, to say the least. Many children today are not permitted to feel badly about anything.
How do we fix this? How do we prepare children for a life that will sometimes be unfair, difficult and just plain tough?
I think we allow them to experience it ALL, within certain reasonably safe boundaries. And through those experiences, with proper guidance and sometimes, parents just stepping back entirely, children will learn how to navigate life through the good and not so good times.
Yes, today’s children have had experiences and knowledge of violence in schools, practically unheard of in past generations. But, that is all the more reason to build a sense of grit, determination, optimism, perseverance and self-confidence in the children today by allowing them to sense and sample the vagaries of life.
They will learn that everyone is not fortunate and favored, that failure can be a learning experience and not an end in itself, but a means of spurring one on to try again, to not give up, and that a single event does not define you.
I do fear that SOME children today, too many I have seen, are coddled and cosseted so much that they do not have the life skills to face life’s challenges.
Please listen to the video below and see if any of this resonates with you as a parent. Why not compare it to the childhoods of children you know today, and see what differences you see?
You will be amazed at the level of independence that a generation ago was allowed in children’s lives, and even fostered, but now might be seen as neglect.
Yes, times have changed. But maybe WE have changed them in our need to see perfection not only for ourselves…but in our children and in our desire to protect them from “harm.”
And maybe, we need to see that the modern approach to parenting is not the preparation today’s children need to deal with the realities of life then…or now.
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