Letting Your Children Make Mistakes Is Healthy
No one came into this world knowing everything. Making mistakes is an important part of growing. Every human being needs to go through this key process to develop emotional wellbeing. It also helps individuals develop a variety of skills.
The truth is that all parents have a tendency to question when they should intervene and when it’s better not to. It’s best to keep things in balance. Parents should guide, counsel and support their children.
But if parents go too far and act like crutches for their children, this actually becomes detrimental. Overprotected children end up developing low self-esteem and helplessness over time.
All children have those moments when they can’t get a toy to work. Or perhaps they have a hard time carrying out an everyday task. This is when parents need to learn when to let their children continue trying, and when it’s better to give them a hand.
For many moms and dads, this can be a difficult judgement call. But the truth is, it’s not impossible as long as you’re respectful .
When we speak of autonomy, there are actually two different types. The first has to do with physical development: motricity and the ability to coordinate. The second aspect of autonomy is psychological. It has to do with the expression of one’s wishes and desires, and the understanding of one’s own actions.
Raising children involves the process of reaching autonomy in the broadest sense.
Certain child raising tendencies actually promote overprotection. When we try to prevent our children’s suffering at all cost, we get in the way of their growth and overall development.
Encouraging autonomy in children is extremely important. It’s key to preparing competent and strategic adults to take on life. The formation of these patterns begins during childhood.
Favoring autonomy in children
There are several factors that keep parents from allowing their children to make their own decisions. The most obvious reason is the fear they’ll make a mistake. Nobody wants to see their children upset, but this is a form of overprotection.
For other parents, this is a control issue. They want their children to do exactly what mom and dad believe is right. This may come from a fear of being criticized by others. It can also come from a parent’s feelings of guilt when a child fails.
At the same time, modern life is structured around time-demanding routines. When parents have too much to do, they have little time leftover to teach children to do things on their own.
Teaching takes time and patience, both of which are scarce commodities in this day and age. Often it’s just more convenient to do things for our children.
None of these justifications are valid. Letting your children make mistakes is an indispensable exercise in preparing them for life. Parents must understand how to carry out this task effectively.
How to start letting your children make mistakes
First of all, parents need to be aware that when children start doing things on their own, they’ll inevitably make mistakes. And, naturally, frustration will follow.
Frustration isn’t at all a bad thing. Rather, it’s an opportunity to surpass oneself and establish new goals. But this conclusion doesn’t show up on its own. It’s our job as adults to instill these values.
When children want to help around the house, for example, it’s good to accept their help. And encourage them as well, of course. If your child makes a mistake, motivate him to try again. Your child should understand starting over as something natural.
If parents show perseverance and know how to handle their own frustration, children will learn to do the same. In the long run, this is the best way to guarantee a child’s happiness.
After several unsuccessful attempts at something, children will likely start to cry. A parent’s first impulse is to solve the problem so that the child stops crying. However, a better option is to sit down with the child and look for possible solutions together.
A child’s learning process passes through various stages. The goals you set for your child should be realistic, according to your little one’s abilities and age.
This guarantees that your son or daughter will be able to reach many goals. This way, you’ll reinforce your child’s self-esteem and encourage further learning.
It’s not fair to take on challenges with a “you can do anything” attitude. Children have stages that they need to complete. Demanding too much leads to excessive frustration.
Household chores are a good tool
Helping out around the house carries with it a series of positive values. It promotes cooperation, integration and communal living. It also builds autonomy and equips children to do things on their own in the future.
Without a doubt, it can be distressing to watch your children cry. It’s never easy to let them make mistakes. However, it’s important we allow our children to express their frustration, fear and anger. We shouldn’t become desperate or repress our child’s emotions.
You can always talk with them later to help them channel negative emotions and learn to move on. Repressing tears is never a good strategy, nor is it good to minimize what they’re experiencing.
The key? Letting your children make mistakes so that, little by little, they gain independence and learn to face life on their own.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Rodríguez, M. R. (2012). Mitos: el mérito de saber equivocarse. Padres y Maestros/Journal of Parents and Teachers, (344), 27-30. https://fund-encuentro.org/index.php/padresymaestros/article/view/527
- Astolfi, J. P. (1999). El error, un medio para enseñar.