family history · parenting

Raising Risk Takers- With Style!!

I received this comment from a fellow blogger, Laura Droege, on my post from last week, “What Made Me Smile This Week?”;

I especially enjoyed the part about your daughter falling off her horse, “She fell off the way we taught her.”  that struck me as appropriate to parenting overall: part of our job is to teach our children to take (good) risks, face failure with courage and appropriate responses (verses destructive ones) and get back up and try again.

It made me think about some things.  Well, that and another post I briefly skimmed…..

First, I do not want to teach my kids to fear.  The world is doing a good enough job of that.  I want them to walk boldly and without fear into whatever the future holds for them.  I want them to try new things and experience life to the fullest.  In falling off the horse, Youngest learns that it isn’t the worst thing in the world. She faced the fear of falling off.  She got up, cried a bit and got back on the horse.

Teaching them skills is key here.  She had learned how to launch herself off her pony so that if she needs to, she can get herself off the horse safely.  Sometimes it doesn’t work so well, but being prepared to fall, not focusing on falling, but being prepared in case it does happen, helps.

The skills they need in life are similar.  Let’s not focus on falling, but knowing what to do WHEN it happens.

Second, our kids need us to encourage them and show them that they are capable, they are strong enough.  If we have done our jobs well, helicopter parents, step away now please, they should know what to do when they fall.  Get up, dust yourself off, and keep going.  Don’t coddle, or otherwise make a big deal of falling down.  Give them a hug, dry their tears, clean up their owie if needed, but otherwise, send them on their way!

They need to know that they are indeed capable.  If you are always hovering over them to “help” them, you are actually hindering them.  They cannot learn and grow to their fullest potential.  It breaks my heart when I see parents doing that.  Do you realize that you are stealing from your own kids??

Think about that.

You are stealing their ability to learn and grow.  Yes, I truly believe that.  I have seen it played out over and over.  The kids get stuck and don’t know how to fix their problems.

My job is to work myself OUT of a job, not keep it forever.

Next, I want my kids to fail sometimes.  Yes.  You read that right.  I want my kids to experience failure and learn how to deal with it well.

My daughter fell off her horse.  She failed at riding her naughty horse.

My son threw a fit because he always wins video games and he lost one.  He needed to.  I was actually happy he did.

Oldest Son went through a period where he felt like a failure always.  He felt like he was a total screw up.  I didn’t.  I was proud of him.  A friend gave him a book about Thomas Edison.  I don’t know that it helped much, but we were able to then talk about how many times he failed before he experienced a breakthrough.  Now, at his job, which he has had since he was a junior in High School, they save the tough jobs for him because they know he is the only one who will figure out the problem.  It might take him his entire shift, but he does.

Getting back on the horse, around here, is something that is said many times.   Often times, its not used as a metaphor.

Throwing a fit because you lost a video game is not ok.  Giving up riding your horse is not a good response.

Getting back up and keep going is the only way to go….Giving up is not an option.

How do you encourage your kids to be independent?  What are your favorite tools or sayings at your house to encourage your kids to get back up and keep going??




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