Hard topic alert.
Also, necessary topic alert.
Why are we trying to protect our children from failing?
Is it good for them to not know what it feels like to lose in a race?
Should parents be jumping in on school projects to help their kids do well?
It is good to keep the training wheels on too long (literally and figuratively).
Or for them to get denied from a job, school application, or tryout?
And what the hell are participation trophies?!
By doing these things, we're signing them up for a lifetime of disappointment. And wussville. And settling. Lower self-esteem. Never reaching their full potential... shall we continue?
That's one expensive membership.
And what about us as parents?
How would that feel knowing that once overly protected child is going off to college at 18?
Will they be ready for a career? What happens when they don't hear back after they've sent out 10 job applications?
What happens when they're boyfriend fancies another girl and breaks it off?
What happens when they want to continue in sports but the coaches don't want them because they are too needy.
Are they ready?
Can they handle all the pressure that lies ahead when they don't have people curating their life and existence?
I don't think so.
Why don't we try the opposite?
Life them fail.
I think the special ingredient to this equation is communication.
My 8-year-old had his first basketball game today, they lost.
They tried hard, fought back, and overall, did well for the first game of their season.
I was proud of him.
I walked outside after the game towards their team while they were having their huddle.
My son was balling.
He was so mad that they lost.
He's competitive, obviously and hates losing.
Secretly, I partly like when stuff like this happens because I get to be there to walk them through it.
I gave him a big hug and told him I was proud of him.
'How could you be proud of me mom we lost', he sobbed.
This was my time to shine ;)
'I'm proud of you for working so hard, I'm proud of you for encouraging your teammates, I'm proud of you for never giving up, and I'm proud of you for being brave and doing some of the things you're not as comfortable with to give your team a better chance', I told him. I gave him another big hug.
And she sticks the landing!
It's not easy to see your child hurting. It sucks.
But knowing they will face so much disappointment in life is the exact reason it needs to happen.
While they're hurting and the tears are flowing, talk to them.
Walk them through it.
Remind them that you love them as much or more now than before.
Tell them there's no such thing as failure if you get back up and try again.
If those don't seem to be helping... put on 'The eye of the tiger' and sing until you embarrass them into laughing.
They will fail, you can't get around that. But when they do, be the first one to smile and tell them you love them, no matter what.
It takes the sting away and reminds them that they're worthy.
In the long run, by losing and getting back up, they'll build resilience. Failing still sucks when you're older, but if you're taught to expect it, you're in a whole different ballgame than always expecting to win.
I want my kids to get knocked down and jump up with a grin on their face.
Bring it on world, I'm ready for you.
Wouldn't that be a better scenario than millions of kids growing up to be adults and not knowing how to take a loss?