I know. I get it. The economy, the high rate of youth unemployment and the investment you made in your child’s education (which you have convinced yourself will never reap dividends because of the economy), not only keeps you up at night, but has you hovering over your kids in order to keep them safe, sound and protected.
Some call you helicopter parents. Others amongst you have taken it to a whole new extreme and are referred to as black hawks.
Either way this is not a coveted title!
You are not helping, but in fact you are hindering and hurting your child’s future success. Not only are you ensuring that your son does not get 99.9% of the jobs that you apply for on his behalf, but also you are nurturing codependence, cultivating a false sense of security, and actually hindering the development of self-confidence and self-esteem. Skills, that are essential to succeeding at any job, and perhaps in the more important domain, skills that contribute to mental health and wellbeing. You have to learn to let your kids fail, and sometimes fall.
The only way to build resilience – that is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, challenges and traumas even stronger than you were before, is to live through the experience.
Think of resilience as a muscle. Just as you work out a bicep in order to become stronger, the same is true of your mental muscles.
If your child never fails, rarely experiences rejection, or has never faced hardship then she will never know how to deal with life’s challenges. Worse, he will never know how to pick himself up, dust himself off and try again.
Please do your kids a service and allow them to fail. And then help them get back up if they need your help, and encourage and support them in their quest to try again. Focus on the fact that they took action. Tell them you are proud of them for trying.
And here’s a secret my friend. Your kids will be better off for having had the experience of failure.
Failure teaches us that we won’t die, that we may need to try harder, do something different, or focus on something else. Skills that we absolutely want and need in our life skills toolbox!
Professor Adam Grant of Wharton University recently wrote a wonderful piece on the topic for university students. His advice – “get at least one B before you graduate”
To your success!