Designed Dilemmas for Our Kids


Allowing our kids to try, fail, get back up and try again is one of the most compassionate acts of a parent.

We took three of our grandchildren with us on a recent trip to Texas and I was reminded of something that we were very deliberate about as we raised our own children: Designed Dilemmas.

When it comes to getting our children ready for the future, we must provide dilemmas that allow them to practice the things we’ve been trying to teach them. These designed dilemmas help them marry theory to practice. They are the labs after the lectures of life that embed common sense and confidence into their hearts.

Designed dilemmas move our children from the age of protection to the age of preparation.

Five Designed Dilemmas to try with your kids:

Have your younger children find your car at the mall or in the church parking lot. Have your older children (licensed drivers) drive through rush hour traffic.

Arrange for your child to be given too much change and see what they do.

After setting up a “fire escape plan”, set off the fire alarm at night, stand outside, and see what your children do.

Give them a budget for their back to school clothing. Let them decide how they will spend it, knowing that when it’s gone, they’ll have to earn the money for things they still need or want.

Next time you travel by air, have your child navigate your way through the airport, finding the right gates and inner airport transportation.

Allowing our kids to try, fail, get back up and try again is one of the most compassionate acts of a parent. We won’t always be there when they have to make their way through life, so it’s our job to get them ready to act on their own, fortified with the character we’ve modeled for them and the preparation we’ve woven into their lives.

Written By Darcy Kimmel

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