Mom defends controversial Facebook post about letting her 5-year-old daughter 'struggle'

She wants her daughter to put "some effort into her work."

March 16, 2018, 11:24 AM
Lauren Lodder's 5-year-old daughter.
Lauren Lodder's 5-year-old daughter.
Lauren Lodder

Most parents likely hate to watch their children struggle. But what if letting them do so is the loving choice?

That's the center of the controversy surrounding one woman's Facebook post about letting her 5-year-old daughter "struggle."

Texas mom Lauren Lodder wrote in the viral post, "Her small hands fumbled over long, white laces. A loose bow dangled limply over the side. 'This shoe is bad!' she yelled, smacking it with her hand. 'You just do it!' she said. 'No, it’s your shoe,' I responded. She sighed and complained. I let her struggle."

She details a timeline of the day -- from waking up to bedtime -- when her daughter wants her to help complete a challenging task but the mom wrote that she refused.

"Our children won’t be living with us forever; we won’t always be there to fix their problems, help them avoid mistakes or tie their shoes and, even if we could, we shouldn’t," she wrote.

Lodder told "Good Morning America" in regards to her Facebook post:

"I wasn't expecting my post to be so controversial, but it seems some parents disagree with my parenting style. I suspect it was my use of the word 'struggle.' For some, it seems to have a negative connotation. When I say my daughter 'struggled,' I mean she was challenged. She had to put some effort into her work. She makes mistakes and learns from them."

The former college professor of writing and literature told "GMA" every semester there would be a handful of parents emailing her on behalf of their adult child, asking for a better grade or an extension.

"I understand these parents were trying to help. But what they were actually doing is preventing their kids from having important and necessary learning experiences -- learning experiences that should have started a long time ago," she explained. "By the time my daughter reaches college, I want her to know that I will continue to support her and love her in every way, but her accomplishments are her accomplishments and her failures are her failures and she needs to own them."

Lodder thinks the problem is that parents fear if their child doesn't pick something up immediately that it will hurt their self-confidence. While Lodder said she understands that no parent wants to see their child defeated, she added, "so much learning takes places during the struggle, during the trial-and-error period."

When it comes to her own kids -- in addition to her 5-year-old daughter, Lodder also has a 4-year-old daughter -- she has always had this parenting style. "When they were babies, I didn't pick them up every time they plopped on their butts or dropped their binkies. I let them learn to rely on their own capable bodies," she explained.

And she thinks it's paying off. "I see this independence, self-confidence in everything my daughter does," she told "GMA." "If she can't reach something, she doesn't scream at me to come get it. Instead, she problem-solves -- she grabs a chair or climbs on the counter. If she makes a mistake, she doesn't beat herself up, she tries again, and again, and again until she nails it. For her, the accomplishment is the reward."

She went on to add, "I am always there for my children. I will always be there to show them the way, but I won't do their work for them."