My son was born and lived his first 20 months in the heart of Silicon Valley, where entrepreneurs wear failure as a badge of honor. Yet I failed to instill in him an embrace of failure early on.
I let him indulge his “tricks” in board games: sifting through cards in Candy Land or changing the number of the dice in Chutes and Ladders. But when he lost, he stopped playing.
Later, I stumbled on “Raising Lifelong Learners”, which had helped me change my behaviors. “Cheating in a board game is not about a lack of morals, but about a child having too much at stake in a game and feeling threatened. If we accost such a child for cheating, he may never play the game again. And so we need, instead, to help children lose with their self-confidence intact,” the author writes.
Now I stop games immediately if he tries to play “tricks.” We also play until everyone completes the game so that he doesn’t give up easily.
Navigating the choppy waters from raising an infant to a preschooler gave me waves of opportunity to learn and grow. At the end of the day, setting our children up for happiness and success in the long run isn’t as simple as breastfeeding them.
It’s about the time and efforts we expend to connect with them physically and emotionally in early years that is more likely to predict their competence in adulthood.