Why allowing kids to fail is a good thing

This article has been previously published on GoodNCrazy. It has been modified and republished here with permission.

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  • It’s dinner time in the Rogers’ household. Surprise, veggies are part of the meal! What a shock? Hello, we only have some sort of fruit or veggie with EVERY meal. It’s been driving me nuts for a long time now.

  • This particular night, the side dish was a simple frozen veggie/potato combo. The one thing he can’t stand, is potatoes. I’m talking, make him sit there till he eats one bite and then watch him gag back into his mouth. Not once … but many times over. I’m mean that way. After years of this we’ve all agreed: He Hates Potatoes. Let’s not talk about how it pains me as a girl from Idaho that my kid especially hates homemade mashed taters and gravy!

  • I decide not to inflict him with the potatoes this particular night. I can only take so many table gags. He has the option instead of three mini carrots. But the caveat is he has to eat every one of them (yes, you can dip them in ranch) in order to go out for ice cream with the family. He whines, I cajole, and he takes a couple flea sized bites.

  • And then … it’s over?

  • He walks out and says he’s ready for Baskin Robbins … huh? My Mom-Lie-O-Matic goes off. I ask him: “Did you throw the carrots in the garbage?” “No,” he sheepishly replies …. (his body language already giving him away). I ask him, “If I look in the garbage , would I find all your carrots?” Hesitation …. “No.”

  • I start talking very slowly, and in my most quiet, You-Are-In-Big-Trouble voice. Because we all know, those guilty carrots are sitting at the top of the garbage heap.

  • I make it very clear I will be staying home with him, while the rest of the family heads out for a treat. Little boy crocodile tears well up, and … the rest of the night is pretty much ruined. I send him to his room, he cries more.

  • And then.

  • He gets a wonderful idea. A brilliant 6-year-old plan. He tells me: “Mom, I will get three new carrots and eat them! Then we can all go out, OK?”

  • What should I do?

  • Remember, it’s been months. He’s getting worse and worse. Eating less and less diverse foods. If I give in, it feels like the only reason he’ll be eating those stupid carrots is to get ice cream! Seems like a TERRIBLE reason to me? And when I tell him - still in my quiet mom empathetic voice - “sorry little man, you made your choice, you don’t get a second chance tonight,” THIS is when his world officially crashes down around him.

  • There is no joy in Mudville.

  • You get the picture. The rest of the night is destroyed. Family night has been canceled. He was still quite distraught when he went to sleep. The next night, guess what we had for dinner? ZUCCHINI casserole. Guess who helped stir and pour and make it? YUP. The boy child. Guess who ate his textured, green, many flavors in same bite dinner?

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  • First I’ll tell you my dang older kids were the ones complaining! It never ends. But the 6-year-old? HE ATE ZUCCHINI.

  • Amen. Worth every tear.

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