A few days ago, I got a call from my daughter Casey, who is away at college. After a quick exchange of pleasantries, she got to the point of the call.
“Hey mom, the temperature has dropped drastically and I need a heavier coat.”
“Okay.” I replied. “Why don’t we find one online. I’ll send to you.”
“No that’s okay, I’m in the city shopping. I thought I would buy one if I found a good deal.”
“Oh.. okay.. who are you with?”
Her response made me stop and look at my phone for a second.
“No one. I’m shopping by myself.”
That may not seem like a big deal except this is a kid who was painfully shy and wouldn’t even go into our neighborhood drugstore alone just a few months ago.
My.. she had definitely changed.. for the better.
When I started Good Enough Mother a decade ago, I did so because I wanted to create a forum, a place for idea exchange to talk about imperfect parenting. I didn’t then and don’t now, have all the answers, but I followed by gut. And every so often something will show up, proving to me that I was right like a recent report in Psychology Today.
Apparently we are raising a generation of kids who are ill-equipped for life outside out front door.
A study at a major university found the following:
*Emergency calls to counseling services have more than doubled in the past 5 years.
*Faculty are concerned about giving poor grades, citing “emotional fragility of students”
*Many students now view a C or even a B as “failure”.
*Less resilient students require faculty and staff to do more “hand-holding”
And on it goes..
My kids have failed. And I have let them.
I don’t believe in “A trophy for everyone” because that’s not how the world works. And while I have made mistakes as a mother, I have also done a lot of things right.
When my daughter didn’t make the volleyball team (remember that?) I refused to go to the coach and lobby for her to be on the team. Why? Because she didn’t deserve to be on the team. She hadn’t worked hard enough (even though I encouraged her to) and it would have been unfair to the other members who had.
But you know what else?
My begging the coach on her behalf would have also been unfair to HER.
Casey needed to understand natural consequences. She needed to know the amount of work that goes into making a team and being a success. And she needed to fail because it taught her what is required to succeed.
I’ve been through similar issues with my son too.
I’m not a psychologist, only a mother who, like so many of you, is feeling her way along the parenting journey.
But the one thing I am proud of is that I have prepared my kids for life outside my front door. That failure is a part of life. And it’s not the opposite of success.. it is the stepping stone TO success.
I’m not saying it’s easy; it hurts like hell to see your kid struggle. But if struggling while still under my roof means success when they’re on their won, I’ll take it.
What about you? Do you let your kids fail?