Kids' Homework Help: Fear of Failure
A couple of weeks ago, my son came home and told me he needed a shoe box for a book project that was due the next day. It turned out that he'd known about the project for three and a half weeks, but was only just getting started. His assignment was to re-create a scene from a book as a diorama. That probably wouldn't have been a problem if he had started a few days earlier ... or if he had read the book!
I watched him struggle with scissors, construction paper and glue for about an hour before I finally gave in. Even though I knew that if he failed, he'd learn a valuable lesson about responsibility and priorities, I couldn't bear the thought of him turning in substandard work.
Together we worked until midnight and turned out something that Martha Stewart wouldn't have been ashamed to put her name on. Then I sent my son to bed and spent another hour cleaning up as I agonized over what I'd done.
I have a history of bailing my son out of predicaments like that one. Just the month before, I had made a replica of Michael Jordan in the form of a marionette for his social studies class. Another time, I edited a short story he'd written to within an inch of its life. In hindsight, I could have saved time by just writing it myself—but that would have been wrong. Right?
My husband thinks I'm a fool, and deep down I know he's right. I realize that as long as our son knows I'll always be there to save him, he'll never have to step up to the plate and take care of himself. And yet I can't help myself. I'm his mom! The person who's supposed to take care of him. I can't sit back and watch him suffer. But is all my care and concern only setting him up to fail later in life?