Why Your Kids Need to Make Mistakes | Giftie Etcetera: Why Your Kids Need to Make Mistakes

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why Your Kids Need to Make Mistakes

I was chatting informally with a couple of my 4th grade child's teachers the other day. 

They work really hard posting all assignments and grades on a website for parents, but I found myself confessing that I barely even look at their hard work.


After all, I commented, I'm not in charge of my kid's homework and studying. He is in charge of his school work.


off topic, box, kid in box, child in cardboard box


I felt a little guilty, but the teachers instantly nodded knowingly.

One of them commented, "you've got to let them fail, or they will never learn."

Now, not every fourth grader is ready for this. I have two very different children, and the other child needs more hand holding and likely will until fifth or sixth grade. But the idea is the same.

At some point, we need to let our children forget their homework, fail a big test, or get a demerit for forgetting school supplies.

Otherwise, they won't learn consequences and responsibility. (And there will be consequences. Don't doubt that!) They won't learn the difference between what happens when you work hard and what happens when you don't put in in the effort.

Remember when your baby was learning to crawl and she tried for a couple of weeks, with scouting and stretching and rolling, and failed every time?

Eventually, she learned that if she moves a certain way, she can grab your cell phone!

Let your kid fail at something. Then, seize that opportunity to teach. I suspect you will make much more of an impression on your child that way.


Etcetera.


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12 comments:

Jessica Abegg said...

My mom was like this with homework. She'd ask if I had any and if I'd done it, and would just accept my answer. It...didn't work out at first, ha. And then I missed a deadline on a large project, and learned my lesson. Sixth grade was hard, man - ha!

Anna said...

Since I homeschool, I always know the kids grades. ;) But I agree that kids need to learn responsibility, and it starts with the little things. It's better to have them learn now and make mistakes on a small level than be unprepared for the big things when they move out and go to college or live on their own.

mrandisg said...

I completely agree. This is something I'm having to work on with my son. Up to now, though, his school has not made it an easy task. They are sticklers for "parental involvement." Thanks to the way they've always structured assignments, my son still believes he's not supposed to do his homework without me. Last year, we had a battle over reading on his own--he was under the impression that he wasn't supposed to read by himself AT ALL. Now we've managed to get over that hurdle (somewhat), but the rest of the homework remains. It's pretty hard to teach individual responsibility when it's been drilled into his head all this time that he HAS to have me sitting there, actively involved in the work. He's starting to learn that fifth grade is different and that he is now allowed to do it on his own, but after all these years of being taught otherwise...I see more battles ahead.

I'm also working on teaching him responsibility for his chores. This has been a tough one, too, and in this case, I have no one to blame but myself. I was way too lenient with him for far too long, and now I'm paying the price. However, the time has come to buckle down and make him work for his allowance and privileges. No more letting him have it anyway after only doing a little of the work or none at all. I'm learning to really put my foot down and mean it.

Wish me luck!

Giftie Etcetera said...

Anna - put the kids in contests or let them pay their own library fines! It's a perfect way to learn while homeschooling.

Leanne said...

This is so true! My children are in their 20's and doing really well. We never gave them a free ride and they learned independence and consequences. My daughter remarked on how useless some of her friends were because their parents had babied them all their lives and now they don't know how to stand on their own two feet as adults. Good for you for parenting well! ~ Leanne

Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom said...

You're such a smart mom! I taught kindergarten for four years, and I always wished parents would understand this idea better.

Thanks for coming by my blog earlier! :D

Stephanie said...

Words of wisdom, my dear. As a mother I know what you mean about haing a hard time letting kids fail in order to learn, but it is needed.

Thank you for sharing this great post with Roses of Inspiration.

Emma @ P is for Preschooler said...

My daughter just started 1st grade and my plan is to do take this course of action with her. Don't know if I'll actually have the courage to do it, lol!

Anna said...

Giftie- The library fines are a great idea. We're spending 6 months in the US now, so we should give that a try. And we do have lots of opportunities to learn independence while homeschooling. I just have to fight my natural tendencies to "direct" and to double & triple check things. Just recently, we were packing for a 2 week trip, and the kids have their own little suitcases & backpacks, and are responsible for all their own things. They've done this repeatedly, and they do fine. But my tendency is still to micro-manage. I have to stop those words before they come out. My oldest forgot an electronic at a relative's house one time, and hasn't done it since. ;)

littleangel4523 said...

It is hard to sit back and watch your child fail at something. I have learned that through these middle school and high school years. I have one child that loves school so much, he thinks a B is just unacceptable. My other child is convinced that school is evil and she hates going, can't wait for the day it was over. My favorite line this week was when she said "When I turn 18, I am quitting school and moving out. I'll take care of myself." As hard as it was, I turned and looked at her with the most serious expression asking how she would pay these bills. She, of course, responded by saying I would pay them. I couldn't help but laugh as I explained that "That is not taking care of yourself."

Nicole Small said...

This is something I struggle with...taking a hands off approach and letting them fail, but I have been getting better at it and you know what?! My oldest is taking more responsibility for his actions and grades. Amazing, I know! Just kidding. ;)

Thanks for linking up to the Country Fair Blog Party. I do hope you will join us again tomorrow!

Minh said...

My daughter is only 5yrs old and I was just thinking about this the other day. Trying to let her fail the first time will be hard but I know it's for the greater good. Better to learn it now I agree.