Stop Saving Children From Their Mistakes
"My baby would never do that..."
"I know my baby, someone else must have..."
"That teacher just doesn't like my child..."
"Kids will be kids..."
"Well, no one is perfect..."
These are a few of the things parents say to excuse their child's poor choices or bad behavior.
A parent's quest to protect their children began before the child was even born. As infants, children couldn't do anything for themselves. They needed us to protect them in every way. Then, as toddlers, they began to explore and learn how to navigate their environment on their own a little, but they still needed us to keep an eye on their every move.
But as children grow, instead of blocking their path and moving obstacles out of their way, children need room to learn and explore on their own more and more.
Parents however, are stuck in the baby stage of protection. In an effort to protect their "babies", parents rob their children of the valuable opportunity to learn from their mistakes.
When we excuse our children's behavior, we're not helping them. We're actually hurting them. When children don't experience the consequences of their actions, they miss out on an opportunity to learn.
It's not whether we make mistakes, but how we correct them and learn from that defines who we become.
As an educator (and mom), I see the affects these parental excuses have on children at school. Here are some things to consider the next time you're tempted to save your child from their poor choices.
1. Children don't learn to accept consequences... which life is full of.
Do you think the landlord cares WHY you forgot to pay your rent? Nope, here's your eviction.
2. They're friendships suffer.
They make excuses when they've done something wrong and have a hard time apologizing or taking responsibility for their actions. No one wants a "friend" like that.
3. Children don't learn to be better.
In their minds, all of their problems are someone else's fault, so there's no motivation to change or better themselves.
4. They don't follow rules well.
Why should they? They do what they want and come up with a way to excuse their rule breaking ways.
5. They don't learn to self-discipline.
If someone isn't hovering over them to tell them right from wrong or keep them from doing wrong, they do what they want, despite what is right. They're actions are based on what they want in the moment, with little to no thought of the consequences. After all, consequences haven't mattered before.
6. The teacher/school's job is harder.
There are good teachers and there are bad teachers. Teachers are human and make mistakes, but before we jump to defend our precious children, we have to consider the situation. Things you may accept at home may not be appropriate for a teacher to accept for a class full of 20-30 kids (sometimes even more). Things like getting out of their seat during the lesson, horseplay, and side conversations are a huge distraction in a classroom. Distractions can be a huge hindrance on learning.
7. School is harder for them.
They miss a lot of class time due to discipline issues. Students who can't follow the rules often find themselves separated from their class to allow other children an opportunity to learn. Detentions, suspensions, and other disciplinary actions become a big part of their school life.
Bottom line is, we all love our children and want to protect them, but we can't and shouldn't protect them from the sometimes hard lessons they need to learn. Remember: no person lives without making mistakes. From young to old, we all make them. It's what we learn from those mistakes that makes a difference in our lives.
Do you think children (and eventually our society) are hurt by parents saving children from their mistakes?