Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I want my children to know failure

I want my children to know failure.

Not because I want to *see* them fail (because, let's face it, for a loving parent that stuff STINGS) but because I want them to feel it. Really feel it.

There's heaps of stuff out there about how unless  you know failure, you never truly appreciate success... can't have the highs without the lows... how much more you learn from failing. But that's not it at all for me.

I want my kids to know failure so they know forgiveness. So they can be comforted. So they can learn resilience.
We have the rule in our house that it's OK to cry. I often say, "You can cry for
** minutes, but then you have to stop and do/say something good."
Now they are bigger (and their worries are bigger) sometimes I say, "You can mope and feel sad all day today,
but tomorrow you have to put it behind you. What will we do tomorrow?"

I want them to know that *I'm* ok with their failings. I don't need them to be perfect, and I don't expect their lives to be perfect either. That just because I hold myself to exceptionally high standards, it doesn't mean that I can't forgive my own, or anyone else's, shortcomings.

I want them to fail at the little things and know they can come home to Mum and let her know how they're feeling. If they can do that a few times (or over and over), perhaps when it's the big failings they will feel safe and comforted doing the same thing.

Because I want them to know that there is never a problem too big to end my love for them.

I want them to know that not all things can be mended but that time has a way of making the pain smaller.

I want them to know, in themselves, that no matter how bad things seem, there's always an opportunity to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again.

So while I'll sigh when they lose, groan when they are outmatched, wince when their feelings are hurt, I'll let them feel that pain, that loss, that sorrow. Let them grieve the lost friend, vent their frustrations over someone who was mean to them, mourn the loss of something broken that can't be fixed.

I won't go in and sort it out and make it 'all better' for them. I'll share their disappointment and sadness, then I'll teach them (if possible) how to make it better for themselves. And then how to let go and move on. Remind them to look around for the joy that is always just around the corner.

I truly believe this will make them grow stronger as people, fill them with empathy for others and resilience... so that if one day if I'm not there for them to bring their problems to, I'll be part of that little voice inside them that cheers them on.

What about you... are you a fixer? Or are you a meanie mama like me?


If you are having difficulties dusting yourself off, Lifeline is always there to help on 13 11 44


  1. I completely agree with you! It's never fun to see your kids fail, but without it, the "real world" is not going to be at all fun! Prepare them early, I say! Kim x

  2. Lovely post and I needed to read that this week. Thank you.
    I am a meany Mumma who then sets about fixing things in the world! I love the 'Be the change you want to see in the world' line and do not accept no until it is proven to be an impossible undertaking. (I am rambling on about stuff sorry!)

    1. Yes, I'm guilty of stretching my resources too thin, too... and not giving up without a fight!

  3. I'm a bit of both, I can't stand crying for no good reason, but I'll give them time to cry when I can see it upsets them. I often make mistakes and always make a point of telling my kids about it. My daughter hates failure, I wonder where she gets that from? ;)

  4. I completely agree with you 100%. It's actually something I'm struggling with at the moment. As a nanny, I must always adhere to the parenting styles and wishes of the children's parents, and yet, in those rare cases where there's very little "parenting" happening, and the kids could do with a taste of the meanie mama, it's just simply not an option for me. Makes things tough!

  5. I totally agree with you. They need to learn this stuff, and whilst they've got the support of mum and dad and the help through it, it's a safe place to learn.

  6. There is absolutely nothing mean about what you are dong here!! I think you are doing so well. So well. Thank you too, for articulating your reasoning so well. This is such a great post.

  7. They do need to learn this stuff for themselves dont they... just as I need to learn to let them and not try to protect them from things that they will benefit from. I could do with being a bit more of a meanie when it comes to teaching my kids about life. Thank you for helping me realise that hun xx


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