As parents we must realize that our kids will fail. That is not the real issue. The question is, what will we do as parents to come along side them in their failure? What do our kids need from us when they mess things up? Now is a good time to remind us of the two pillars of parenting...training and trajectory. We must remember all parenting is a matter of training and rarely is anything of value accomplished in one move. Trajectory reminds us that we must always look to "then" in order to have the proper perspective on how we should "train" now. We are always directing our kids somewhere - good parents do so with intentionality.
Just know that kids fail, and it gives mom or dad a great opportunity for training! Here are some steps to help you be intentional in your training:
Face it head on. Show your kids that failure is not something to hide. We must face failure head on; we should not take it lightly. Often a child's failure seems very insignificant to us as parents; however, we must not take this lightly because it may be an important lesson to learn. At the same time, we should not make a mountain out of a molehill. Failure is a primary way to learn in life. So, face it, acknowledge it and take responsibility for it!
Show compassion. Failure for kids can come in a thousand different colors. Your job is to offer a little compassion to comfort them in their disappointment or fear or embarrassment. Kids need to feel safe failing in view of their parents.
Frame up the issue. You have a better perspective than your kids. Help them see their failure in light of the big picture. Kids can easily misinterpret the reality of the circumstances. Your job is to help them frame up the issue in light of where they are in life.Share from your own failures when you were there age (this requires some vulnerability - especially as your kids get older). You will be amazed how your failure as the parent makes them feel safer dealing with the issue at hand.
Validate their strengths & worth. When kids fail, they need to hear mom and/or dad validate the fact that he or she still has wonderful strengths and immeasurable worth. We will all trip up along the way, but failure is not what defines us. Often these failures become defining moments that can either reinforce themes of defeat or victory in our kids lives.
Get on with life. Kids certainly need us to comfort them through the pain of failure, but we can't stop there. We must normalize failure and help them get on with life. It is never healthy to wallow in the self-pity of our mistakes. The show must go on! Kids need to learn the skill of getting up when they fall. The failure does not and should not be the final answer on their lives.
Parents, your job is never through and it is rarely simple. Your kids will fail and you will hurt for them. Be proactive and help your kids through these struggles and watch them thrive!
Parenting is not simple. We can use all the help we can get! For more parenting help, check out the Tightrope series at Highpoint Church. And remember to make each of your 7000days® count!
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