In general, children in America have around 18 years to prepare for living in the real world. During this time, children have a certain number of teaching experiences that will help their preparation. It’s these experiences, although sometimes painful, that will form a memory bank of cause and effect thinking. And it’s these experiences that will help guide their future choices and behaviors.
Since there are a limited number of teaching opportunities, one of the best things you can do for your children while they’re young is let them learn from these teaching experiences with little interference or rescue from you. The great thing about raising children is we get the chance to see them learn from the consequences of their choices as they get older.
Although it is tough to watch our kids struggle or hurt as they face life’s consequences, it’s easier if you remember this idea – while kids are young, the consequences to their poor decisions are relatively inexpensive.
For example, a young child’s poor decision usually only results in them being cold for a short period of time, being hungry for a little while, getting a reduced grade on homework, or something else not life threatening. As the child grows there are more life and death choices – drinking and driving, drugs, sex, etc.
While a child is young, they get the chance to reap the benefit of as many real life learning experiences as they are allowed to experience. When parents over-protect their children, they in essence steal from them.
While our kids are young, and the price tags of poor choices are still inexpensive, let them learn as much as they can. This learning comes from the natural consequences associated with choices in life. And the consequences to choices will teach more than any threat, lecture, or directive.
A child who is allowed to learn from their mistakes also learns to think and problem solve.
Eventually our kids will not live with us, before they go out on their own, wouldn’t it be great to know they’ve had a taste of the real world and are very capable of making life whatever they desire.