How To Help Your Child Handle Failure

By in Parenting on 06 June 2009

The way that a child responds to failure is influenced by his own perception and the reactions of the people around him. While winning is good, there is also triumph in failure in the sense that it can teach you lessons that are guaranteed to last through life. When kids embrace failure as a normal part of life, they won’t be afraid to try new pursuits thereby allowing them to develop a healthy self-esteem.

If your child feels that he is not being appreciated for his efforts, he will work doubly hard just to gain your approval. In time, he will put it upon himself to always achieve just to please you. He will never be contented with being just second best thinking that it will not make you happy. And when he finally succumbs to failure, it may just shatter his inner drive to keep on going.

Let your child know that everyone gets to experience failure in small and big ways. He can lose in a game with his friend, or he may never get to join a much coveted sports team. During these instances, kids should never think that they are already set for a lifetime of failure. Guide him on how he can make the experience positive either by helping him develop his abilities, or by exploring his potential on other things. Even with hard work, there is still no guarantee that a child can get what he wants. What’s really important is that he’ll recognize that failure is not something that should put a halt to all his goals. It should rather be like a driving force that can help him find his niche in this competitive world.

When doing activities at home, don’t expect your child to produce a perfect output. If your child is not happy with his drawings, tell him that there is totally nothing wrong with crooked lines. If your child is frustrated, let him know that it actually takes time to master a skill. But with dedication and practice, he can eventually develop the dexterity needed to make straight lines. Make the experience positive by complimenting him on his progress and his small achievements.

Children should in no way associate affection with success. They should clearly know that despite their missed attempts and their shortcomings, they are well loved. Try not to be overly critical, and always be supportive. When kids hit rock bottom, they may easily recover with the knowledge that failure is always a part of life, and even great men experience failure too.

Your response to failure can also help shape your child’s reaction to future situations. Show your child that it is okay to make mistakes. If you just ruined a meal by adding too much of a particular ingredient, don’t order take out just because you are frustrated. If your kids can see you start again from scratch, they may get the idea that they can always have a fresh start too.

Young children may initially dislike the concept of failure or even losing. But when they get to see that it is just a stumbling block that they can overcome, they may learn to develop the right attitude towards failure. Help your child overcome his fear of failure by encouraging him to pursue his goals. Life has no rewinds, and it is best to live it to the brim.


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