Let’em Fail: Why Letting Your Kids Stumble is Necessary


A girl sitting on the floor with her head down.Catching your child before they fall begins with the toddler age when they are just learning how to walk.

The baby gates are up, the sharp edges of furniture removed, and the slippery floors are cured by no-slip socks. We are preparing to ensure they don’t become injured. It’s our job as parents. So it makes sense when we intuitively keep on doing it, even as they progress very much past those first few years.

As a mom to 11- and 14-year-olds, my season of parenting babies and toddlers has passed. With that, the joys of more sleep, more mature interactions, and more adventurous family vacations have overtaken what I thought would be my sadness about moving on from the little itty-bitty stages of sweet little cheeks and baby smiles.

However, as our children age, active parenting becomes even more critical. We slowly realize we must allow them to learn to fail and fall independently.

I am teaching my older son about preparedness as the best remedy for anxiety. I am a list-maker, and it aids my anxiety. I make a list, check it off, and I feel in control. Sometimes, there is even a sub-list if there is a birthday party or event coming up.

But when they don’t have the maturity to create the list and realize they forgot an assignment due, what can you do to make it right? Well, for your high schooler, in particular, and beyond into the college years, nothing. That’s right. It’s on them.

Heading through middle school and into high school, my son’s teachers told us that students must learn to take more responsibility. In high school, the relationship is even more so between the student and the teacher or the instructor/coach and the athlete.

Jarring, for sure, and watching some parents struggle through being unable to control the narrative is even more painful. My older son was called to the principal’s office last year, being blamed for something another student had done. The other student later admitted it. We had to step in when he came to us for help. So yes, we still need to intervene in some situations, but there is a fine line.

Now that our kids are getting older and being challenged with age-appropriate decisions without us always by their side, it is more important than ever that we continue giving them guidance at home and letting them face the uncomfortable.

While challenges such as social media influences and screen addiction can plague teenagers, equally as important a topic for us is allowing our children to make mistakes and to learn from them.

So what can we do to prepare our kids and ourselves for the eventuality that they will be in situations before adulthood where they must take responsibility? Let them fail. Let them try, and if they fail, allow it. The adults I most respect are those who, while incredibly successful, also admit their downfalls.

When we fail, some of the greatest periods of growth come about.


  1. Love this and you my friend! So true but learning coping skills is so important because as we know life happens and you need to adapt.
    Miss seeing you at the games!

    Would love to get together soon!


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