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Let Them Fail

A couple of weeks ago my friend Christa Skipper began sharing some parenting encouragements with us.

Today’s article continues with more practical tips of how to parent with the end in mind.

As parents, we need to be asking the question, “what do I want my child to be like as a teenager and adult and how can I parent with that result in mind?” Pray: Prayer should be an important part of a family as we pray with our children and for our children.

Be intentional about praying for your children specifically. What needs do each of your children have and what are you praying for God to do in each of their lives?

When our children were small, it was hard to find a lot of time to sit and pray. They kept me very busy! I would get frustrated every time I had to do laundry because I felt like there were 100 socks every time I washed! It seemed like that many, anyway! One day as I was washing and sorting socks, I realised that time could be spent praying for my children.

As I picked up a sock, I would pray for that child. It turned a chore into a sweet time to pray specifically for each of my children. When can you pray for your children and how can you pray for them specifically? We also pray intentionally with our children. When things are going on with our children, our first instinct should be to pray with them and point them to God who can help and answer them. Pray out loud, pray regularly, and pray specifically for your children and what is going on with them.

Praise God for the great things that are happening with them, pray for their struggles, pray for their decisions. Teach them to turn to Jesus in prayer when they have a need. My son has been sick for a few months.

Throughout this time we have been praying for him, but we also pray with him. On the days he is feeling really bad, we stop what we are doing and pray for him.

 Our other children also pray out loud for their brother as we meet each evening as a family for prayer. Grow: As we raise our children, we need to give them room to grow and opportunities to grow. When our children are babies, we spoon-feed them until they can eventually feed themselves. The same is true in other areas of their lives, we spoon-feed them and help them then help them learn to do it on their own. One principle we have used since our children were small is this: don’t do anything for your children that they can do for themselves.

This started with small things like putting their shoes on, getting dressed, homework when they were in school, chores around the house, etc.

As they have gotten older, the

principle applies to larger things such as going to get a job, making decisions about their future, and making and saving money.

This principle applies in their relationship with Jesus as well. When they are young, spoon-feed them. Teach them and give God’s Word to them. As they get older, teach them to start feeding themselves by reading the Bible and applying it. Ask them what it means for them and what God is teaching them. Our children also grow by using their gifts and talents. Let them use their gifts to serve others and serve God. They are not too young to have an idea and to follow through in serving someone else. They are not too young to lead a Bible study time with your family and lead in prayer as they pray for your family and others. A hard parenting principle is to let our children fail and let them learn from it.

It is hard to watch our children make mistakes, but it is a necessary part of life and we can also watch our children grow from it. If we always step in and catch them before they fall, they will never learn how to fail and how to get back up from it. Leave room for your children to grow, offer help when they need it and affirmation when it is done.

Have conversations about what they learnt from their mistakes and what they would do differently next time. One of our sons had an accident and damaged someone else’s property a while ago.

He didn’t mean to do it and felt terrible about it. As parents we had a choice to make. Do we help with the problem, pay for the damages, and let it go? We knew that if we did that our son would not grow from his mistake. We guided him, but he had to do the work.

He had to make the calls to get the damage fixed and he had to work off his debt to pay for the damage. It was a hard lesson for him to learn, but one he grew from and will likely not repeat in the future. We never want to waste an opportunity for them to learn and grow from mistakes.

Ashley Thaba is a popular motivational speaker, family building facilitator, author and the Producer of a hit TV show offering practical advice to strengthen families and improve marriages! Episodes of her show can be downloaded from her website – can view some of her work on her YouTube channel: Ashley Thaba. You can buy three of her books, Dive In, Making Marriages Fun, and Conquering the Giants, on her website. You can email her at or follow her on Facebook at: Talking with the Thabas

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