You think you’re protecting your kids when you don’t allow them to fail…
…but it’s actually only protecting you
You’re a good parent.
Your kids are well fed, clean, well groomed, they know good manners (and sometimes practice them), and they have talent beyond belief.
You’re raising good kids.
You’re so well attuned to your children that whenever they are hurting or experience any kind of failure, it hurts you too.
In concept, there is nothing wrong with this. In fact, it’s a 🔑 component for healthy attachment.
But where it goes wrong is when there is very little to no distinction between their emotions and experiences and yours.
If they had a bad day, you had a bad day
If they experienced a failure, if feels like you had a failure
If they made a mistake, it feels like you made a mistake
At this level of enmeshment, it’s no wonder you’ll move mountains to get them out of pain; you’re also trying to get yourself out of pain.
Ouch, I know.
Additionally, there’s also the social pressure and judgment of your kids’ behavior being a reflection of your parenting.
You’ll hear other parents and professionals say:
“If Johnny is acting up in school it must be because you’re not spending enough time with him.”
“If Lindsay is still living at home at 19 years old it must be because you baby her too much.”
The pain of having to face shortcomings in your parenting is so OVERWHELMING it is much easier to overly protect your children so that they don’t ever have to feel consequences.
Because when they don’t feel consequences, you don’t feel consequences.
This is a protective measure with great intentions.
Problem is: your child isn’t learning how to fail appropriately and you’re not getting the opportunity to heal old wounds.
Here’s how to help them fail in a healthy way:
✨Get curious about the full experience. Oftentimes, your emotions get triggered so quickly that you’re jumping in with solutions before you hear the whole story
✨Ask questions about the process and focus less on the outcome. “Tell me more about your study habits. What would you have done differently? When you sat down to study, what came easy for you? What was hard?”
✨Ask them how THEY feel about the experience and what they learned.
✨Normalize that failing and/or making mistakes is a part of growth. Instead of it being something to avoid, invite it to be something to lean into and gather more information on. Again, emphasize the process and learning opportunity, not the outcome.