How to Let Kids Understand That It’s Okay to Fail

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

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Teaching kids about failure may be something that parents have not taken the time to teach their children about. Some parents may be guilty not holding their children accountable for the wrong that they did by placing the blame on someone or something else. While this provides the children with immediate relief, this prevents children from facing life and all the hard things that come with it.

Failure is not a pleasant experience, and some parents might want to protect children from experiencing this. But, failure actually has many beneficial lessons for your child.

Continue reading to learn more about the best ways you can help your children understand that failing is a normal occurrence.


Let Them Cope with Negative Emotion


Failure is a universal experience. It has happened to everyone and will inevitably happen to your children. Because children are young and highly impressionable, the lessons they learn from failure early on can be carried over and applied in their adult lives.

Now, while your child’s failure may not seem like a big deal, as a parent, make sure that you are not dismissive of their emotions. Not only does this make them feel that their feelings are invalid, but this may also lead to your child not knowing how to navigate the more serious emotions in their adult lives.

Some ways you can help your child cope with failure is by giving them a shoulder to lean on, and a genuine listening ear. Allowing them this momentary grieving period may help them recover much faster.

Tell Them Consequences Are Normal


Usually, negative reinforcement is not considered to be a good parenting practice. But sometimes, this is the only way to show your child that their actions have corresponding consequences.

For example, if you find out that your child has failed in their responsibility of accomplishing their homework for the day, you might impose a temporary rule that they are not allowed to play video games for the weekend.

At first, your child might respond negatively, with crying and whining. But instead of further berating them for their failure, tell them that the rule you have imposed is proportional to the duty they have failed to accomplish. The longer this habit is sustained, the easier it is for your child to grasp the idea of consequences.


Let Them Take Responsibility for Their Actions


As much as possible, it is important that your child is able to understand the reasons behind their failure to achieve a particular task. For example, when they have failed to study for an upcoming exam, and they eventually receive a low score, tell them that the only way to make up for this is to do actually put in the necessary effort to study.

Shifting the blame on other causes for their failure makes the child feel that his failure is not his fault.

Going back to the scenario – instead of telling them the fault may lie with the teacher or instructor, tell your children that they are also active players in whatever happens to their lives. In this way, they will learn how to take responsibility for their actions, and also to understand how their actions may affect the choices they make.


Teach Them How to Correct Their Mistakes

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Another possible mistake that parents make whenever their child is put in a situation where they have failed to accomplish a task, is that the child may not have been given the proper instructions or guidance. Because of this, the child is more likely to repeat the behavior in the future, having never learned the first time around.

Failure is a necessary fact of life, but so is learning how to do things right, in order to not repeat the same mistakes and fail again.


Help Them Understand That Failure is not the End-All-Be-All


If you have a child who is a natural overachiever, it can be a struggle for you to convince them that failing is just another aspect of life.

If, for example, your child has lost a very important table tennis championship, they might take this too personally and berate themselves for their failure and convince themselves that it is the end of the world. As a parent, you have the responsibility to give them a different perspective on the situation. Tell them that there are more opportunities for them to get better and to eventually achieve their goals.


Show Them Failure is a Learning Process


It goes without saying that failures are simply avenues for us to grow as individuals. This is also an important value to teach your children, especially when they are young. Communicate to them the truth that failure might is not easy to accept, but it is something that has provided them with valuable learnings.

Failure also opens up possibilities for a better outcome. Instead of thinking about this negatively, you might also want to suggest to your child that failure is simply life’s way of telling them that experimentation in life is an essential factor for further growth and learning.


Be A Good Example

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Finally, perhaps one of the more essential pieces of advice on this list, is to show to your child that you’re a good role model for them. Offering them advice and consolation is one thing, but they might not act on this counsel, because you yourself do not practice what you preach.

In order for them to truly learn, these values have to be evident and practiced in their own homes.


Key Takeaway

It is never easy for children to accept failure. especially if it is their first time to experience it. They might respond in the only way they know how, but the danger in this is that sometimes it might lead to detrimental thoughts and outcomes.

As long as you communicate with your children that failure is not something one should actively shy away from, but rather something to learn from, you are on the right path. The simple guide above on teaching kids about failure has hopefully offered you with useful advice to apply to your children.


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