Being able to think, learn and make good choices independently remains one of the most important skills that a child can acquire. While “spoon feeding” children can sometimes offer the most direct route to observable progress, it is possible to support academic, behavioural and social-emotional development in ways that allow for independence without sacrificing growth, outcomes or results.
There are three important factors required in order for our children to become independent.
- Parents, teachers and students may need to adjust their mindset so that failure is viewed as an opportunity for growth.
- Parents and teachers should aim to concrete the conditions with children that empower them to become more independent.
- Parents and teachers must be prepared for the inevitable emotional distress which comes from increasing demands for independence.
- Failure is best viewed as an opportunity for growth and to learn.
Parents may fear that there will be long-term consequences if their child fails to meet academic, behavioral, social-emotional or other expectations such as missing out on future opportunities. They also often worry about the impact of failure on their child’s self-esteem.
Teachers may fear that student failure will be perceived as a reflection on their own instructional abilities.
Students may fear not being able to live up to their own and other’s expectations and not measuring up to their peers
- Be aware of your own fears as a parent or teacher.
- Redefine failure with children as an opportunity to learn about themselves and build the important skill of perseverance
- Use case studies to contextualize the benefits of failure including your own struggles and how you eventually triumphed.
- Provide positive feedback for the process of learning from one’s mistakes.