Sunday, May 15, 2011

Letting our children fail or learning to let go

This post should really be called 'learning to let go as a parent so even our tiny tots can fly'.

I recently was doing a workbook with my DD1 which was 'Let cut paper' by Kumon workbooks. I was 'working' on this book with her showing her how to cut each page out correctly and not to make any mistakes. Follow the grey line I kept saying to her and when I saw her go off the Grey line I was quickly taking the scissors out of her hands and showing her how to do the exercise until I heard 'Mummy I want to do it. My scissors' I soon began to realise that I was so afraid of her making a mistake or not cutting it the page correctly I was afraid that she would 'fail' and not get the 'reward' (a nice picture) or half chopped off face picture and be disappointed.

As I took a step back from this little event and realised I was being a hindrance rather than a help. I started to think that I was taking a real opportunity for her to learn away. She was not being able to make the mistake and learn from it or even being allowed to correct herself. She was missing out on a deeper level of learning that making a mistake is okay and as long as I learn from it the world will not fall apart. I had become the all in all HELICOPTER parent one who hovers over their child always there just in case they are about to fall and save the day. Now I know there are situations where you must be there to help, but how often do these situations arise? Is letting them fall every now and then such a bad thing? If we teach them 'okay hon, yes you fell, yes you made a mistake but you have corrected it and learnt from it so you know not to do it again'. Rather than always standing over them in anticipation of them making a mistake and never letting it happen.

I think this is particularly hard for any parent to let go of. We do not want our children to go through pain. We do not want them to fail, so it is a lesson for us to let go and trust the process. and trust that our own child will get it right. Which is easier said than done.When I finally caved and gave my DD1 the scissors back and let her cut out the pictures on her own, I will not forget the beam on her face as she held up the picture of the Tiger she had cut out with its ear missing and proudly held it up to me and said "Look Mummy I cut the picture out all by myself." and to think I could have taken this moment away from her.

My DD1 finally got to the end of that book and with each Kumon book there is a certificate for completion. I could give her that certificate knowing that she had earned it and by the time she got to the end her cutting skills have improved significantly.

From on Humble Mummy to another

ps Please note I do not let my child use scissors unsupervised I was in the room when she was using them.

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