Letting Our Children Fail

August 20, 2012 under Syllabus 2012-2013


No one wants to let their child fail. It can be one of the hardest and rewarding things we do for our children. When do we let them fail? How do we be there for them without being there for them too much?


Have you ever looked at some of the things that are going on in your kids’ lives and wondered why they are doing something or the other? You may wonder why they just won’t listen to you and gain knowledge from your experience. Have you thought that maybe God is allowing these situations in our children’s lives in order for them to become what He desires for all of us? If we constantly bail our children out when they get in trouble from their own device or if we constantly monitor and control situations and their environment to keep them safe, they will never gain all of the above. So when we as parents always say that it seems our kids must learn the hard way, remember that this is not only true but it is by design.

    Perhaps we should teach them godly ways and allow them the freedoms appropriate to age to make their own decisions but don’t interfere with the natural consequences if they are hard on them. Create a godly home and expose them to a godly lifestyle but don’t manipulate in order to control certain outcomes. Even though our kids’ tribulations may often be of their own doing, God can still use these times to foster dependence on Him and a desire to live a godly life if we stay out of the way.

    When we rescue them we really do them a disservice because we not only cheat them out of a spiritual growth experience but also a regular life experience. So the next time your son or daughter is bent on finding something out on their own, let them. Don’t hold back or stand in the way of any natural consequences that come from it. God has a purpose for disobedience; let Him pursue it.

Bible Readings

1. Romans 11:30-32

For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, 31 even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

2. Proverbs – Chapter 22:6

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

3. Ephesians 2:12-13

Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Catechism Readings

1. Paragraph 2206

The relationships within the family bring an affinity of feelings, affections and interests, arising above all from the members’ respect for one another. The family is a privileged community called to achieve a “sharing of thought and common deliberation by the spouses as well as their eager cooperation as parents in the children’s upbringing.”

2. Paragraph 2207

The family is the original cell of social life. It is the natural society in which husband and wife are called to give themselves in love and in the gift of life. Authority, stability, and a life of relationships within the family constitute the foundations for freedom, security, and fraternity within society. The family is the community in which, from childhood, one can learn moral values, begin to honor God, and make good use of freedom. Family life is an initiation into life in society.

Small Group Questions

  1. Think of a time when you let your child fail. Discuss the outcome with the team.
  2. Think of a time when you wished you let your child fail but you didn’t. Discuss the outcome with the team.

Recommended Resources

· http://g12studyjournal.blogspot.com/2008/08/let-your-kids-fail-sometimes.html

· http://www.sinaitemple.org/learning_with_the_rabbis/writings/LettingOurChildrenFail0222.pdf


  1. Is there an opportunity to let your child fail in the near future? Think about what they would learn from this lesson.
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