There are so many dangers in this world for children.  As parents, we try to protect our children so nothing bad happens to them.  What if someone is cruel to them?  What if they need help and no one is there to help?  Germs, health, education, and an infinite number of concerns are constantly there in our minds.  How do we protect our kids, while at the same time allow them to learn from their own mistakes? If we constantly shelter kids from life, how will they grow into well-adjusted adults?

Researchers have found that some amount of stress in childhood is necessary, so children will be able to face the world confidently when they grow up.  Of course as parents, it is our duty to protect our children.  However, there is a fine line between keeping our kids safe and smothering them.   Andrea Kuszewski writes that, “Successfully coping with stress at an early age may significantly increase your chances of being a more resilient adult, as well as strengthen your ability to regulate emotions.” If we start building emotional intelligence as a child, regulating emotions as an adult will be easier.   Obviously, too much stress can be harmful to the developing brain.  However, Ms. Kuszewski writes that having mild stress as a child alters the brain so that the brain will be able to handle future stressful situations better.  For example, if your child has to perform in front of adults, she may be very nervous.  However, the more she deals with her anxiety and successfully performs, the more confident she will be in the future.   By allowing the child to deal with the stress, children are forced to problem-solve and think for themselves.  As parents, our first instinct is to protect our child from any kind of stress.  As we have seen, extremely mild stress can be good for the child.  Making friends at school, taking tests, and other stress-inducing situations can be good learning experiences for the child.

In addition, taking responsibility for mistakes at a young age will prepare children when they make mistakes in their adult life. The more responsibility the child takes will enable the child to become an independent adult.  Maybe your child left a book at school or got into a fight with a friend.  These everyday situations are good opportunities for the child to problem-solve.   If your child left an important book at school, maybe she will think of a solution herself. Don’t be so quick to fix your child’s mistakes. 


As parents, we should let our children know that we still support them when they make mistakes.  In addition, we can tell our kids that we believe they are capable of making their own decisions in life.  However, there are many things where the parent must help their children with, especially when their safety is at risk.  Bullying is an example of something where the child needs to know the parent will help them.  However, if we help our kids every single time they have a problem, they begin to question their capabilities and whether they can do anything without a parent’s help.

The difficult part is striking a balance between keeping our children safe and letting them make their own mistakes.