Failure–everyone experiences it. It can be in the form of not getting that sought-after job or promotion; or not making the varsity team; or failing to follow through with your New Year’s resolutions. Failure is a part of LIFE. The big question though is:
How do you react to failure; yours and/or your child’s?
It’s no secret I’m a zealot when it comes to PLAY. The POWER of PLAY impacts all facets of a child’s life—now and in the future!
Parents need to set up as many PLAY opportunities for their kiddos for many, many reasons—one you may not have expected…for them to experience FAILURE!
Yes, that’s right! FAILURE is important for your child to develop the resiliency needed to live in a world where there will be challenges to face. As much as you’d like to think you will protect your child from all of LIFE’s slings and arrows, you will not be in your child’s life forever—better to help them prepare for that eventuality than to face it without the inner resources to move forward and, hopefully, thrive.
So as hard as it may be, understand helicopter parenting to prevent any scratch, scrape or boo-boo…hovering to make sure each and every thing goes perfectly, there’re never any wrong answers…doesn’t allow your child the invaluable opportunity PLAY presents. When parents bud in—add their 2 cents—all in the name of helping, they are really hindering their child’s development.
When children are artificially prevented from failing, they have an erroneous understanding of their capabilities. If they feel what they’re doing will always lead to a successful outcome they’ll continue with that same approach whether it’s in problem-solving or judging trustworthiness…all based on false data! With this scenario, you’re truly setting your child up for future failure…and NOT the kind they (or you) would want!
FAILURE is best done young and in PLAY!
PLAY provides a safe environment for children to explore, investigate and test. PLAY is forgiving—actions have no real, long-term consequences. PLAY gives children the freedom to risk failure!
In terms of failure, PLAY lets children observe and/or experience:
● Stacking a block atop another top (or more) keeps the tower upright, but placing the block askew puts tower at the mercy of (gravitational )forces, toppling the entire structure down.
● Square pegs truly do not go through round openings (of the same diameter) no matter how much pushing!
● Surfaces have different textures—rough, smooth, jagged, fuzzy, bumpy…falling on some can hurt!
● Refusing to listen to others’ PLAY ideas leave bossy kidlets on the sidelines
And many, many more!
So next time you’re kiddo is struggling while PLAYING before rushing in:
● START with open ended questions –it’ll help them see possibilities or pinpoint the issue
● SHOW compassion and kindness—growing and learning can be tough sometimes…offer an ear or shoulder
● FOCUS on what matters—what are your family values: generosity, kindness, perseverance, self-confidence? Everyone wants to win or be the best at something once in a while of course, but always being the winner or always being the best at everything is realistic. Handling disappointment gracefully and standing to face another day are important traits to develop. Think encouragement over praise!
Is it easy to see your kidlet struggle or even flat-out fail? Absolutely not! Prepare them—not just for sticking to some resolutions—but for the inevitable ups and downs of LIFE by turning to PLAY to FAIL!
Yours in Play!