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It is extremely difficult to watch your children fail. Whether it be a test, college admission or mental health struggles, failure is a key component of life that teaches lessons and bolsters grit. Grit is a personality trait based in perseverance, passion and persistence for long term goals. Consider the value of your child developing grit for not only adolescent development but for their entire lifespan.

According to the work of psychologist Wendy Grolnick, parents who support their children’s autonomy by allowing them to try and fail, are setting themselves up to have engaged and independent adult children in the future. This is not to say that parents who rescue their children are bad parents, as it is human nature to want to see your loved ones succeed. Instead, this is a call to action in which parents should examine their perceived need to “fix” challenges their child may face.

So, how do you let your child fail?

  • When you have the need to “fix” a particular situation, consider whether your involvement will hinder their long-term senses of autonomy and responsibility.
  • Communicate the boundaries of what you will or will no longer be doing.
  • Finally, celebrate when your child makes efforts to own their responsibilities and praise regardless of the results.

In the big picture, kids can do a lot more than we think they can. Failure is an invaluable tool that encourages long term growth.

Kiara Thomas, Wellness Intake Specialist

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