Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail, writes Jessica Lahey in The Atlantic.
Thirteen years ago, when I was a relatively new teacher, stumbling around my classroom on wobbly legs, I had to call a students’ mother to inform her that I would be initiating disciplinary proceedings against her daughter for plagiarism, and that furthermore, her daughter would receive a zero for the plagiarized paper.
“You can’t do that. She didn’t do anything wrong,” the mother informed me, enraged.
“But she did. I was able to find entire paragraphs lifted off of web sites,” I stammered.
“No, I mean she didn’t do it. I did. I wrote her paper.”
Overprotective parents are raising their children without “the emotional resources they will need to cope with inevitable setback and failure,” writes Lahey.
It’s hard to teach children who’ve been shielded from frustration and failure. Kids can’t learn from their mistakes if their parents never let them make any.
. . . teachers don’t just teach reading, writing, and arithmetic. We teach responsibility, organization, manners, restraint, and foresight. These skills may not get assessed on standardized testing, but as children plot their journey into adulthood, they are, by far, the most important life skills I teach.
Her students who are “happiest and successful in their lives” are the ones who were “allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.”