Google+ Authentic Parenting: Setting them up for failure (rerun)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Setting them up for failure (rerun)

How often do we as parents expect our children to fail, and - even worse - tell them we do. I can hear you think: I never... But think about it a little harder; when they engage in a dangerous, or trying activity, do you warn them? What words do you use?
"You are going to fall!" "That glass is going to break!"

It is stronger than ourselves, in the face of danger, guided by fear, it is all the more difficult to pick the right validating vocabulary. Next time your toddler runs around with scissors, don't expect them to get hurt, just accept it as one of the possibilities, he might actually put them back before anything happens. (I am not suggesting you give it a try, though)




  1. That is so true. I have never really thought of the words I choose in some situations. I am big on saying "walk" instaed of "don't run". Now I will be even more conscience of what I say to all the little ones around me.

  2. It has taken me awhile to suppress those knee jerk comments and warnings. But the difference for me has been amazing. I feel trust rather than concern, a calming peace rather than an overwhelming fear. Interestingly enough, those comments never stopped my kids from wanting to challenge themselves anyway, but now that my comments are more supportive rather than fear ridden, the thoughtfulness and cautiousness in their actions, has improved.

  3. Excellent point. I've been trying to choose my words carefully when my toddler gets into potential danger. Often I find myself saying "Be careful" in the hope that he actually will be careful but not have his spirit vanquished. Sometimes I add WHY to be careful to call his attention to it ("you're close to the edge and you could fall"). I would definitely try to avoid predictive warnings like "you ARE going to fall".

  4. I remember learning somewhere that kids naturally drop the word "don't" or "no" when they hear parents issue a command... it's just natural for kids to hear everything in the positive.

    That's why when you say, "don't jump in the puddle", they immediately go for the puddle. Instead of telling my kids what I don't want them to do, or to happen, I try to state what I WOULD like to see happen. While the puddle example isn't that great because I don't usually care about puddles enough to stop them, I'm sticking with it for the sake of the example. :)

    If I really feel compelled to need to say something, I'll go for: "Let's keep your shoes dry!" instead of: "Don't jump in the puddles!"

    Thank you for this post, it is a good reminder!

  5. Ah ah ! You left cameras at my place and you are watching me. Sophie (14 mo) grabbed the scissors from the sewing table the other day, and I did not say anything, so she experienced a bit with them (while sitting on the floor) then left them there to go check on something else... No hurt happened, not in her body, nor in her self-confidence !


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