The Art of Failing Gracefully

Nov 29 2016.

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“Children don’t grow if parents don’t take risks. Hold back and watch how they’re going to solve their problems instead of rushing in to make it better.” 

A forgotten book, an unprepared for test or even incomplete homework, it drives me to utter vexation that my children have found themselves in such situations and I can do nothing to help. Their problems become my problems. I understand that these little situations are ones that children, after a certain age should tackle on their own. But as the typical Asian mother I find it difficult to hold back. 

Over involved mothers are those mothers who do everything for their children. From waking them up in the mornings to even helping them pull up their socks, they spend the whole day making sure their child is not burdened or distressed in any way, by doing all that is necessary for them. These children’s lives are spent carefree with not an ounce of responsibility. A martyring mother gives the child no responsibility at all, in fact they try to change situations for the benefit of their child. If there are problems at school rather than accepting the fact that their child is at fault they will look to point fingers at others. 

These mothers do more harm than good. They in fact thwart their child’s growth into a well adjusted adult. These children tend to develop disruptive behaviour later in life because all throughout their formative years every situation in life has been reformatted for their benefit so that minimum effort is needed from their part. Also the child starts to have low self-esteem and less confidence in themselves when you convey the message that you will praise them at anything that they do, rather than set expectations. By having low goals for your child you are infact insulting their abilities to succeed. As martyr mothers you always want to praise the child, but there does exist  a fine line between praising incessantly to motivating through positive praise. If a child is complemented at every whim then they will not work hard to achieve anything. 

By martyring a child you take away their everyday challenges and rob them of the ability to feel good once they have accomplished a challenging task by themselves. By trying to rid their life of challenges the child interprets it as that you think they have diminished abilities and are not capable as the other kids. One way of getting rid of this way of parenting is as your children get older make a list of the things you do for them. Then slowly hand over responsibility for them to take over their lives. They are responsible for making sure they take their swimming bag to school and if they forget It’s their loss. Children also need strict guidelines, by laying down your expectations for them gives them the much need confidence to succeed for they realize that you have the belief in them. 

Parenting is the most difficult task you will accomplish in your life. It is possible that you might not do it right, but it is important to strive your best to do what is just by your children. Let them fail so that they can succeed, step back mothers.


Mayuri Jayasinghe

Mayuri Jayasinghe plays many roles in her life but her most important and quite baffling role is that of being mother to her four children. She is the voice behind 'Parenting Life' for LIFE. A regular contributor to Women at Work and the Little Enquirer. Follow Mayuri on her Facebook page, The Parenting Club.



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