You may have seen the article, ‘Rough play is good for children’ in the Herald Sun recently. In summary, it suggests over-protective teachers are robbing children of opportunities to develop important life skills.
The fact is, teachers are placed under growing pressure from parents to ‘bubble-wrap’ kids. The result? Kids’ life experiences are greatly diminished.
As a psychologist, I believe we can foster success in children by encouraging them to take risks and accept the consequences of their actions, both positive and negative. Schools, therefore, must afford students the opportunity to take measured risks in the playground.
It’s all about giving children control, and putting them behind the ‘steering wheel’ of life. Just as kids need to experience the rewards of hard work, they need to experience how to cope with failure, criticism and rejection. It is through such experiences that they will develop and grow into mature, independent adults with a complete repertoire of life skills and experiences to draw upon.
As a parent, consider whether you provide your child with an environment in which they are encouraged to take risks.When was the last time you:
- Made an excuse for your child not completing a project or homework?
- Made an excuse for your child being late or away from school?
- Intervened in a problem that s/he should have solved?
- Let your child justify his/her actions to a friend, an adult or a teacher?
- Encouraged your child to partake in something where success was not guaranteed?
The next time you feel the urge to jump in and take control, think of the long-term benefits that life experiences will provide.