A loud thud comes from my son’s room. I fling open the door. His head is cradled in his arms. “I’m done. I can’t do this anymore,” he exclaims through tears of frustration.
“What are you working on?” I ask.
“Lousy math,” he blurts.
In my heart, I want to rescue and protect him from his struggle and possible failure. But my mind tells me, “Let him struggle. Don’t step in. It’s OK.”
Protecting and rescuing
As a parent, you want your children to have good lives; however, you can unknowingly smother your children’s brain development and potential by rescuing them -- giving them the answers to their problems, and protecting them from making mistakes. Our brains “grow” best by making mistakes and failing.
It’s OK to let children struggle
Tell yourself, “It’s OK for my children to struggle.” Teach your children that mistakes are part of life -- that they provide a great opportunity to learn even though they’re hard.
Encourage your children, and say, “You can do it. I have seen you struggle at hard things in the past, and you can do this too.” After your children complete problems, tasks or challenges, their mental abilities grow and they feel great about themselves. They will learn they can do anything they set their minds too. This is called “the growth mindset.”
Sal Kahn, founder of Kahn Academy, has this motto: “You can learn anything.”
This one-minute video will inspire you to foster a growth mindset within your children as you learn that failure is just another word for growth.
(Damara Simmons is a parenting coach and educator who currently resides in Bonaire, Ga.)