Mrs Hanbury headmistress talking with students outside
  • Head's Blog

First published November 2017

I am minded to write about this subject again, given the recent article in the Telegraph; ,http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/2017/10/28/safeguarding-culture-scuppering-young-peoples-creativity-childrens/ . Lauren Child, the Children’s Laureate, stated the importance of allowing children to get on with their lives without being micro-managed by parents or teachers.

Many parents and teachers want to ensure that nothing goes wrong for their children, so they interfere in their decision-making or attempt to solve all their problems for them. Others want to fill all their child’s waking moments with “worthwhile activities” (do we mean only the ones that result in certificates or medals?). When will these children learn to cope for themselves? And when will they have time to daydream, get bored, and find creative ways to fill their own time?

I know it is hard to sit back and allow your child to suffer disappointment, fail at something, or struggle with unpleasant friendship issues, but sometimes it is necessary. It is only by experiencing failure or disappointment, recognising that it isn’t the end of the world and recovering from it, that they will build confidence. If they don’t know that they can recover from failure, they will worry about it, avoid it at all costs, and thus never truly develop self-confidence.

Likewise, with risk: young people need to learn how to take well-judged risks, to know the difference between risks that are reasonable and those that are just plain stupid.  We won’t always be around to judge this for them, so they have to be given opportunities to work this out for themselves.

We can all set a good example by being open and honest about our own struggles: make sure our children know that things went wrong for us, we fell out with our friends, we weren’t invited to every party, we didn’t get A* in all our exams, etc….

We can encourage healthy competition so that our children learn to lose graciously and without worrying about it.

And the next time you find yourself on the verge of stepping in to solve your daughter’s latest problem, should stop and think: “Will she learn more (and grow in confidence) if I leave her to deal with this problem for herself?”  The chances are that the answer is most definitely “Yes”.  

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