Why we need to let our kids fail

We can’t hear the news or browse the web without hearing about the US college admissions bribery scandal. People are outraged at the lengths that parents have gone to get their kids admitted into  prestigious colleges. Shocked at the audacity of their schemes. I too was outraged at the injustice of it all. But, the more I thought about it the more I realized that a lot of us as parents are doing similar things in different areas using a wide variety of resources to ensure “happiness”, “success” and “comfort” for our children.  I think we can use money, friendships, build friendships of convenience, coach our kid’s sports team, or strategically volunteer…. as forms of currency that sometimes we use to get our kids where we want them to be… where perhaps they don’t have the skill or desire to be… That could be a school, a sports team, a friendship group, a dance club whatever… I see it happening all the time and I hear whispers of this sort of stuff everywhere.  Let me be clear, I am not saying that all volunteers or coaches have alternative motives, in fact, I think most of them don’t and genuinely just want to help out.

Without struggle, there can be no progress.  Without embarrassment, there can be no empathy. Without failure, there can be no success-Scary Mommy 

I think the lie we as a society of privilege are telling ourselves is that our kids ‘deserve’ these things and that we are just helping them get what should be theirs. Tough stuff to admit.
I know in my own life I have felt a badge of pride when my kids are successful. But I have also felt embarrassed I guess would be the word (which I feel a bit of shame about?) when people ask me what university my kid is going to and I have to say he is still working it out….. it’s his journey, not mine. Why do we feel these things??? Or if my kid doesn’t make a certain team coming up with excuses of why as opposed to owning the fact that he just wasn’t good enough to make it…. Which is ok!

Kids know that mommy and daddy bought their way in and they know they aren’t good enough… it makes them broken for sure-Gary Vaynerchuk

There are a few things here that I think we should be concerned about.  I watched a video by a social media guru and speaker Gary Vaynerchuk, which is really what inspired this post.  Gary basically believes we are doing our kids and ourselves a huge disservice by creating opportunities for them that they did not earn on their own.
“ Kids know that mommy and daddy bought their way in and they know they aren’t good enough… it makes them broken for sure” (Gary Vaynerchuk).
What I have seen over the years, particularly in sports, is when kids simply are not good enough to be on a team and parents manoeuvre various ways to make it happen the sport then exposes them… they can’t hide that they are not good enough. This does a huge number on a kids self-esteem when they fall big in front of their peers. We have to start thinking beyond the goal of getting them to the place that we want them to be and looking into the future to see if they can handle being there after we get them there.

Look I’ve been there, I’m still there…I desire my kids to be on teams, go to a certain university, be accepted into clubs or social groups I deem valuable… but, I think as parents we need to stop caring about and being competitive about what other parents are doing or think of us for the mental wellbeing of our children.  We all love our kids. Probably most decisions we make in our life are based on “how will this decision affect my child?”.  However, I also think these behaviours create a poor perception of us in our communities and to our friends when we manipulate circumstances to make it good for our kids. We need to help them create a real self-awareness that allows them to go into the world with real confidence, not a false construct.
“ Without struggle, there can be no progress.  Without embarrassment, there can be no empathy. Without failure, there can be no success”  Scary Mommy

The benefits of allowing our kids to feel discomfort and disappointment
1.They develop important coping skills
2.They learn resiliency
3.They learn how to work through discomfort
4.They don’t develop a false sense of entitlement
5.They learn self-confidence when they do it on their own


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