Tip No.5: Let your child experience both success and failure
It’s perfectly natural for parents to want to help their child to succeed. After all, who among us enjoys watching their children fail? However, there is a growing realisation among professionals who work with children that, as well as learning to succeed, they need to learn how to fail. Children who never fail don’t learn how to deal with failure and this can leave them vulnerable to anxiety and problems in later life.
“There will be exams we don’t pass, jobs we don’t get, houses and flats we get beaten to, and a whole range of lesser things we lose out or don’t succeed at.”
Avoiding any failure in life is just not an option. There will be exams we don’t pass, jobs we don’t get, houses and flats we get beaten to, and a whole range of lesser things we lose out or don’t succeed at. Not wanting to experience losing can lead to a fear of failure and cause our children to give up trying and attempting new things.
One of the world’s greatest athletes, American former basketball player Michael Jordan, talks extensively about the importance of perseverance and resilience and believes that is what made him so successful on the basketball court: “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying“.
“It’s natural to want our children to succeed, but what is the cost to them?”
While we may not be tiger parents, many of us are still guilty of over-parenting and being too overprotective of our children. It’s natural to want our children to succeed, but what is the cost to them? By not allowing our children to falter or experience disappointment is doing them a great disservice and can lead to a feeling of helplessness, which is ultimately the opposite of what we want for them.
Parent, teacher and writer, Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed
stated in a Guardian article: “We’ve ended up teaching our kids to fear failure and, in doing so, we have blocked the surest path to their success”.
We need to stop yelling instructions to our children from the side-lines and let them succeed or fail on their own terms.
Let your child experience both success and failure.
How can we help our children make their own mistakes:
– Teach your children that failure is a part of life. Validate how they feel about it and discuss what they can do differently next time.
– Every failure is a learning opportunity and a chance for parents to teach problem-solving skills and alternative ways of thinking about, or around, things.
– We can teach our children that failure is sometimes just a fact of life. They need to accept what happened, acknowledge and deal with their feelings and emotions around failing, and move on. Children need to learn how to handle negative emotions to build self-control and resilience.
– Take a step back and only step in if your child wants, or needs, you to. Failure is a great opportunity for your child to learn about themselves and what they are capable of. Be patient and trust in your child’s ability. When we repeatedly step in to help our children, we are basically telling them that we don’t think they can do it.
– Allow your child to make their own decisions about how they approach something, or deal with a failure, rather than always jumping in and giving instructions or trying to fix things. This will help your child build their self-confidence.
– Teach your child to take responsibility for their decisions and actions. Many children, and adults, always look for someone to blame when things go wrong but this can lead to them feeling dissatisfied and unable to move on from the failure. They also miss a great opportunity to learn from it.
– Let your child choose and pursue their own goals. When you do this, you are giving them a much better chance of succeeding as they are doing something they want to do.