A friend of mine on Facebook posted this blog: Stop Making Everything Perfect for Your Child. It basically says you have to let your kid fail, not make the team or be disappointed, because that is the only way they are going to learn anything.
First, let me say I agree 100 percent with this article. What it doesn’t mention — and maybe the author doesn’t struggle with it like I do — is how hard it is to watch your kids fail. I am not talking about struggling with peers and social failing, because that is a whole other blog. I am talking as the “I’m a rule follower who wants everyone to like me” parent whose child is not. So when my child doesn’t turn in his homework, I worry the teacher is judging me.
Really, it is a very narcissistic viewpoint. I am not worried about my kid’s reaction to failing. I am worried about what my kid failing means about my parenting.
"I am not worried about my kids reaction to failing. I am worried about what my kid failing means about my parenting."
My problem is that I make my kid’s successes and failures a reflection of me and the type of mom I am (or the type of mom I think others think I am). Really, I don’t think there is a correlation, but it can feel like it.
The truth is, I can be a good mom and still have the child who can’t concentrate in class because they are always daydreaming. I can be a good mom and have the kid who lost a bead for punching someone during recess. I am a good mom, even though my kids are not always perfect and can be downright challenging. Why?
Because kids are not robots. Kids have to learn and grow, and each kid is different and unique. One of my kids’ favorite sayings when they get in trouble is: “But Mom, how am I supposed to know any better? I’m just a kid!” To which I respond, “Exactly! That is why you are getting in trouble — so I can teach what is right and what is wrong.” My artistic child has to learn that sometimes you write in the lines, while my daydreamer has to realize there are times you need to focus.
Being a good mom means I try to help them find strategies or tools for them to succeed despite the challenges, not make the challenges disappear. Which means letting them discover the challenges on their own. If I rescue them every time so that I can be the “perfect parent” with the “perfect kid,” I am really not helping them at all. Also, and probably most importantly, it is not about me. This is about them. About helping them to grow and learn and develop tools so they are able to be successful at whatever they put their minds to.
It is hard and painful, but necessary. I need to take my ego out of the equation and help my kids succeed. Sometimes they will have to fail to do that, and that is OK. When I was a kid,
I made mistakes and I did not make lots of teams. I never once blamed my parents because of it, and neither did my teachers. It was all on me. I got to experience that, and now my kids do, too.