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Learning From Mistakes: 6 Reasons It’s Important To Let Your Kids Struggle

Parents see themselves as their child’s number one protector. They kiss the scrapes and bumps and help chase away any monsters under the bed. However, parents must also allow their children to problem solve on their own and simmer in the struggle. While it can be uncomfortable to see your child frustrate, there’s power in making mistakes. Here are six reasons it’s important to let your kids struggle.

1.   Makes Them Learn How to Cope

The most healthy parent cycles allow children to go out into their environment and try new things. Then, after adventuring, they come back to the parent to show their unique skill or what they learned. Teaching this plays out best when trust levels allow the child to leave their parent’s side to venture a little further on their own. This skill continues into the teen years and beyond. Even college often embraces the cycle of security, allowing the child to go off to college, returning intermittently for support but continuing to foster newfound independence.

   2. Develop Problem-solving Skills

Children may have the intelligence to accomplish great things, but life can become quite challenging without necessary problem-solving skills. Help your child learn valuable problem-solving skills by teaching them the things you wish someone would have taught you. Show your child the skills you are grateful someone took the time to teach you. Give your child opportunities to flex their problem-solving skills around the house or even through games. Set some time each evening to spend doing puzzles and word problems. Make sure to focus on your child’s interest. A Sudoku puzzle is not going to fare well with a child who hates math and a crossword puzzle will remain empty if your child has difficulties with writing. Make sure adaptations are made for age appropriateness. Also, make sure you sit down and complete your own brain work. Everyone can benefit from practicing problem-solving skills.

   3. Teaches Them About Failure

Watching children struggle can be difficult, but it becomes easier when children are provided with a growth mindset. Teach children that failures become new opportunities. They can learn from their mistakes and try again. Teach your child the power of yet when they try to hone in on perfection. Make sure you let your children know perfection doesn’t exist. More importantly, show them how you get up and try again after a failure. Specifically, try and recall times at your child’s age where you failed and tried again. This helps children relate and also realize that you, too, have simmered in the struggle. Another great way to expand on the beauty of failure is in the world of science. How many great discoveries would have been missed if the scientists had stopped after their first failure? Highlight some of the best creations that came from mistakes. Dove soap is the soap that floats because a worker left it whipping too long. The extra bubbles made it float. That little mistake built a whole successful campaign setting Dove above typical sinking soaps.

   4. Fosters a Growth Mindset

Children who learn to embrace the struggle become children who embrace new experiences. When children get rid of the need to be perfect, children become more open to new experiences. This growth mindset fosters understanding and learning over perfection. Teach your children about famous people who have failed and continued to get up and rise. A teens journal can help them keep track of what they are working on and look forward to things they’d like to try. Journaling provides a non-verbal way teens can deal with disappointment and also figure out their next steps. When they are feeling frustrated, ask your child to read their journal for inspiration. Your child will grow a list of trial and errors that can motivate them to keep going.

   5. Teaches Them Emotional Management

Children who work through their problems independently must also learn to utilize coping skills to maintain balance during stress. To understand these valuable skills, parents must model the behavior. While this is easier said than done, the benefits are felt by an entire family. Parents who model breathing techniques and other healthy coping skills help teach children that difficult emotions are okay to have; they may make them feel uncomfortable. When children know they will get through big feelings, they are more likely to release tension and frustrations more quickly. Doing so leads to less intense meltdowns with less frequency.

   6. Develops Resilience

Children who are given opportunities to struggle and problem solve acquire life skills that will make life much easier. These are the children who get excited to try new things and don’t mind looking silly when trying something new. Children who are rescued whenever things get rough can find the world to be scarier and less safe. They can become more self-conscious and worry about what they will look like if they fail. Helping too much leads to less adventurous behaviors with children missing out on fun and new situations. Help your child find motivation in making mistakes, and they will be well on their way to resiliency. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and look silly doing something new. That type of modeling allows children to feel safer being awkward and imperfect.

We can learn so much from mistakes and provide our children with the ability to learn from failure rather than fear failure. Allowing children to struggle in safe environments will enable them to learn to tread uncertain waters with perseverance rather than fear. We want our children to be safe, but we also want them to enjoy adventure and the thrill of new experiences. You will always be there to support your child, but make sure you are not inadvertently suffocating their desire for independence and growth.

Author Bio:

Alexandra Eidens is the founder of Big Life Journal, an engaging resource to help kids develop a resilient growth mindset so they can face life’s challenges with confidence.