When do we stop using patience and kindness to encourage our children to get back up and try again? Sounds like a silly question at first, right? However, when our children are small and learning to walk, we help them over and over. We encourage them to get back up and try again, and again, and again. We get excited at every step forward and celebrate their small steps. Fast-forward a million steps later, and we have teenagers. Are we still encouraging our children through their failures, or do we find ourselves frustrated and angry with them for not getting a task done correctly?
Over the years, I have worked with numerous parents who were extremely upset about the failures their child was experiencing. I have heard parents blame the child for being lazy, stupid, or rebellious because he or she could not complete a task as well as the parents wanted. Whether it is in school or somewhere else, the parents could not understand the child’s failure.
How do we expect our children to risk learning new things and exploring their environments if we teach them that falling down is a bad thing? Is that what we do when they are learning to walk? No! So why do we behave that way when they reach their teen years? Surely, there is a better way, a smarter way to work with a child who experiences failure.
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One 13-year-old boy was sent to the program I ran because he was failing school. The academic failure caused relationships at home to falter. The teacher blamed the child for poor performance and, of course, the parents jumped right in and heaped on more blame. After the boy's first few weeks in the program, we noticed his attention would wane, and he would distract other students. We asked the boy about his behavior and, after a short conversation, started to suspect he might have vision problems. We took him to an eye doctor and asked the doctor to check the child’s eyesight. Sure enough, the boy’s vision was very poor. Once he received glasses, he shined as bright as could be.
You will hear me yell this a thousand times, “CHILDREN DO NOT DREAM OF FAILING." If a child is failing, trust me, there is a reason for it. Neither the teacher nor the parent ever asked the child any questions regarding the cause of his failures; they just jumped right into the blame game.
Is your child failing at something? How are you responding? I believe the adults in that young boy’s case were more afraid of their own failure and fear took over. Isn’t it time you let love be louder than fear? Can we love our children through their failures? Can we continue to pick them back up and encourage them with the patience of a loving heart?