Setting Our Kids Up For Failure
by Diana Dow (October 18, 2012)
[Editor’s note: Homeschooling mom Diana Dow wrote a piece for her blog as a reminder that what we do affects the way our children think about themselves. WSW.]
My nine year old is sitting on the couch frustrated and near tears. Why? Because he doesn’t understand his math. He’s good at math. Not a genius but he understands the concepts and can figure out most problems without too much trauma. Why doesn’t he understand it today? Because it’s been 3 days since he’s seen his math book. Don’t misunderstand me here. We haven’t been goofing off for 3 days. We’ve been doing some pretty intensive school. Just not math. That’s partly his fault. He knew that he had to do his problem set (yes, we use Saxon) before this morning. It’s partly my fault. I didn’t protect his spare time and ensure that he had sufficient time to get his work finished. In other words, we were busy. So, today, he sits on the couch, fretting about not remembering this or that.
Why am I telling you this? Because this is one way that we set our children up for failure. The message he is getting loud and clear this morning is that he is a failure. He can’t understand math. I know very well he can understand it and he can do it. If we had diligently worked a little each day, he would be having no trouble with his math this morning.
I see this in a lot of other areas of raising children. I see it amongst my orchestra students. I have seen it on the baseball field and in Cub Scouts. I see it in my Bible class. Children are encouraged to participate in an activity or learn a new skill while at the same time being set up for failure by their parents.