With Monster, these lessons are a little more difficult. You never want your children to fail, especially when it's important, but sometimes, for them to learn, there is no other choice. Monster has learned a lot of hard lessons throughout his life. A lot of these lessons have hurt, but, they have also made him grow. When he started karate 5 years ago, I was so worried about him failing at it that I would take notes and video to help him practice. I would sit with him while he practiced and watch him and tell him what to do better. Very soon, though, I wasn't able to keep up anymore. Techniques and katas got more complicated and I just couldn't take notes that fast. So, he was left on his own. Here's the important part. He succeeded without me. Yes, there were things he failed at and had to learn again, but there more things that he didn't fail at. Karate has been so great for him. I don't think he would be who he is today without it.
Sunshine has a different personality, so she has been taking the lead for a long time. From clothing choices to hair, it's always been her way. Even in this area though, she has learned. If she complains about her hair not being perfect, I certainly won't redo it until it is. She learns how to do it on her own because I don't care if her ponytail has bumps. If you won't do it yourself and you don't like how I do it, then it just won't get done. When Sunshine asks me to do her hair, she knows that it will be what it is, and she's good with that because she's learned that lesson. Other lessons are a little more of a battle, but they are lessons nonetheless and I try to let her take the lead, even when I know she is going to fail. She never wants to practice her math facts or her spelling words. I don't force her. At the beginning of the year, she learned that if she didn't practice her facts, she wouldn't be a "master". She desperately wanted to get "master" rank. So, she decided on her own to practice math facts, She's been a "master" every trimester and has gotten a lot faster at her facts. Spelling words, well, she has yet to fail at that. Like her brother, she's just naturally good at those. However, one day, she may fail, and it will be up to her to ask for help.
If you don't teach your kids that it's alright to fail, then they learn to be poor losers. If you are always setting them up for success, then when they actually fail, they won't know how to deal with it. Teaching your kids how to take away lessons from failing is just as important as their successes. Letting your child take the lead on the things they want to do and how they want to do it. Of course you should help your children, especially if they want it. But helping is different from doing. it. There are also some things kids don't need your help with. You need to figure out where the line is. Are you helping or are you holding your child back. It can all come back to that child led art. Do you want something to be perfect and is that why you are doing it? If so, you're teaching your children that their visions, if they don't line up with yours, aren't good enough. Yes, we live in a busy world, but, if we always do things for our kids because it's just easier that way, then we are raising adults who feel like everything should be done for them.
When you let your children take the lead, you see where you, as the parent, has been taking over too much. Are they asking you for help with simple things? Like if they are making a poster and ask what should I write or where should I put this or that, then you've probably been doing it for them the whole time, even though they are physically writing the things down. My daughter and her friend made an awesome poster, where they both learned to fail, because I won't do things for my kids' friends either. The girls were making a sign for an origami table that the girl scouts were running. The only thing they asked me about it was if they could work in the gazebo. They went planned the entire thing themselves. They wrote it all out and designed it. And, they spelled origami wrong, every time. Do you know what they learned from it? One, how to spell origami correctly, and two, how to make origami letters. Instead of crying about the fact they messed up and redoing it to be perfect, they decided to make origami letters to cover the mistake. Did they know how to make the letters? No, so, I helped a little by telling Sunshine she should text our friend who is an art teacher to see if she could help teach her. Our friend then sent videos on how to make origami letters. I did not sit there and help Sunshine fold and fold until she got it. She did it on her own. And you know what? They poster turned out pretty darn cool. I know way too many people who would have told their kids they would have to start over. Yes, sometimes, mistakes are too big to cover up, but the first response should never be to give up and start over. It was a sign for girl scouts, it was not life or death. Should you always do your best? Yes, but your best does not always mean perfection. Kids need to learn that. Kids need to learn that no matter how great they are, there is someone out there who will always be better, and someone who will always be worse. Their best doesn't have to be their brother's best or friends' best. It just has to be theirs. When you let your children take the lead, you can see what amazing things they can do. You also see where you need to work harder. Either way, they learn, and if you let them, they can even teach you.