By Joey and Carla Link
September 1, 2021
Recently Carla and I were driving by some corn fields and we talked about all the work a farmer puts in to get those corn plants from seeds in the ground to the tasty, sweet corn on our tables. From the off-season planning, to working on the equipment to be sure it is in good working order, fertilizing the crop and making sure it is well watered, to watching to see when it is ready to be harvested, nurturing corn is a full-time job.
Just as a farmer must watch after his investment to be sure nothing will get near their crop that would destroy it, parents need to keep watch over their children.
“Do not be deceived, bad company ruins good morals.”1 Corinthians 15:33
“Bad company” doesn’t have to be people. The often-destructive morals of television, digital games, social media, etc. certainly applies as well, along with peers and other influences.
When we talk about giving your teen the freedom to fail, we are saying the time is right for you to see if they can handle a certain situation on their own.
1. When they come to you with a question, ask them what they think they should do. If it is at all doable, tell them it is a good choice and to go for it. This will give them confidence in their ability to make wise decisions.
2. If they have shown you they can manage a freedom 65+% of the time when you are within shouting distance, give that area to them to see if they can handle it when you aren‘t.
3. Having the freedom to fail has everything to do with trust. If you don’t trust them, don’t give them the freedom to do it.
You don’t want to give them the freedom to fail when it comes to going out with a group of friends. If you don’t trust them, they shouldn’t have the freedom to go. We would ask our kids to give us 3 worst-case scenarios and how they would handle them. We gave them ours if they didn’t come up with them. Sometimes, after working through the worst-case scenarios, they would decide not to go.
When do you start to give them the freedom to fail?1. Giving your teen the freedom to fail is not a one-time event. It is a process that takes place over time.2. Give them the freedom to fail in an area they have been successfully managing for a period of time. Take it away if they mis-manage it without your supervision.
If they can’t handle it and need more support before they can manage this issue on their own, you want to be the one to stand alongside, supporting them. Stepping back and seeing if your child/teen is ready to manage a given behavior/responsibility on his own is a necessary action parents will do over and over again throughout their children’s growing up years.
We encourage you not to give your teen the freedom to fail if you aren’t sure they can succeed. Give it to them when you are sure they will succeed.
“Ihave no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the faith.”3rd John 4
We hope you enjoy your children as you raise a crop that will yield 100-fold.