Parents want to protect their kids from harm. Thereís nothing wrong with that. As you first held that tiny, crying bundle of joy and potential, you knew it was up to you to give them the best life possible.
As we watch them grow, we have to stop them from the obvious: donít stick forks in electrical sockets, donít touch the fire, don't run out into the street. We get so used to protecting them that it becomes habit. So, as they get older, we reflect on the painful experiences we learned from as youth and try to protect our kids from those trials as well.
This need to protect our children can cause many of us to become ďhelicopterĒ parents, constantly hovering over our child to try and stop accidents or injury before they happen. Unfortunately, studies prove that this not only prevents them from experiencing some very important events in life, but it actually makes the parents unhappy, too. It's a lose-lose form of parenting.
Risks in Dating
There is an unfortunate truth that accompanies the prevention of your child from taking risks: you teach them to avoid risk ask teens and adults. Though we fear failure and consequences associated with failure, risks provide great rewards in life: love is one of those great risks. Risk taking in love and relationships means being vulnerable, it's a high price to pay for a very rewarding outcome (in the best case scenario).
How important is it that teens date and enter into relationships at that age? As it turns out, these relationships they have as teens are incredibly important to their development later in life. It's a practice run and a learning opportunity before they get into the really heavy relationships that come with adulthood.
Risk and Rejection Are Necessary for Growth
Despite our best intentions, we need to be sure to teach our children and teens that risk and failure are a part of life. They just canít be avoided. Instead of preventing them from taking risks, we should instead be teaching them how to deal with all of the emotions that come with good and bad outcomes.
1. Be a role-model.
We teach our children more by our actions than anything we say. They watch us all the time, and when we come across difficult situations, they see how we deal with them, and use that as a template for their own experiences.
2. Let them make the choices.
Weíre not here to mold and shape our children into people. Thatís a common misconception. Their personality and experiences in the world will do that. Itís up to us to help teach and guide them through life. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach him to fish and you feed him for his lifetime. This same concept applies to your children.
3. Take risks with the heart.
No matter our own experiences, we canít prevent our teens from striking out and asking out their crush. Rejection sucks, pure and simple, but itís an opportunity for them to discover what they need, and how to be a better person in return.
And in the end, isnít that the goal?
Tyler Jacobson is a writer, father, and husband, with experience in outreach and content writing for parenting organizations and ranches for troubled teen boys. His areas of focus include: straightforward parenting, education tactics, problems from social media, mental illnesses, detrimental addictions, and issues teenagers struggle with today.