• Luke Towning

Let Them Fail!

Updated: 7 days ago

…in other words, give them time and let them fail.

I recently started taking my daughter to gymnastics lessons.

One week she went on the beam and had to try walk across it.

She climbed up but then struggled with balancing all the way to the end.

I watched 2 other children absolutely nail it – the envious Dad in me started to take over

Why couldn’t she do it if they could? Maybe this isn’t for her?

At our football classes in Leeds we’ve seen this type of thing a lot. Some parents can’t take seeing their child struggle so pull them out thinking ‘well, they’re just not good at football I guess’.

That’s the point! To get good we need to work consistently, fail at times then push through to a new level.

It is so hard seeing your child fail at anything and the easy thing to do is take them away from that ‘pain’.

The better thing to do is encourage and assist as much as you can.

Going back to my little girl, I quickly remembered some of the stuff I’ve learnt about child development over the years and stopped fretting.

Instead, I held her hand a few times across the beam. Then I slowly started taking my hand away after a few turns.

She fell a few times but started getting further on her own.

Then came the part where she finally got the whole way and she was absolutely delighted with herself.

But I don’t think she would have been as pleased if I had simply carried on over-helping her or pulled her out of the class because I didn’t like seeing her fail.

Children will fall, they will plateau at something, they might cry when they get something wrong at school.

Our job is to assist them but not do it for them.

To encourage them but not pander to their lack of determination to push through challenges.

Give them time, let them fail then watch them grow.

For anyone interested, Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who did a lot of research on this. Some interesting stuff for anyone who wants to read up.

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