Learning from Mistakes
There is a fine line between protection and control. As a new mom, I had this overwhelming desire to shield my baby from pain, sadness and anything else that was less than wonderful. Babies require 100% protection, however babies grow and our expectations need to grow accordingly. As new parents, my husband and I catered to our child’s whims and wishes a little too much because we didn’t like to see him sad. Before we knew it, we were entrenched in bad habits that led to giving in to their demands, helping too much and making excuses for bad behavior. We parented too much from our hearts.
A natural consequence occurs naturally. Touching a hot stove will provide an immediate consequence. That is guaranteed. Of course we don’t want to let our children get hurt physically. However, there are many situations or choices children make that result in sad feelings rather than physical injury. In those situations, it may be wise to allow natural consequences to unfold
I can’t imagine a parent not showering their child with love and praise. There are many times that parents will consciously choose to protect their child the consequences of their mistakes. When you are faced with a choice between protecting your child and letting them experience the natural consequence, it is helpful to think about what is in your child’s best interest in the long run. What would be gained from stepping back as compared to shielding them? You want your child to feel loved unconditionally, but you have to be careful to clearly communicate your expectations for responsible behavior. A child that feels they are free to make mistakes and get away without consequence may not work hard for good grades, may not learn to be financial responsible, and may also engage in activities that are dangerous.
Allowing natural consequences to occur in everyday life can be far from automatic. It may actually be more natural for a parent to protect their child rather than see them suffer. It is my philosophy that there are many times parents should allow mistakes in life to teach important lessons. As a parent, you get to make those decisions as the situations arise. While evaluating your options, I encourage you to consider long term rather than short term goals.