How to Help Kids Learn to Accept Failure

How to Help Kids Learn to Accept Failure

Failure seems to scare a majority of people, particularly children.

While some of them feel that failure is a sure sign of weakness, some others feel it is the consequence of ‘bad luck’. Thus, they gradually drown into an ocean of disappointment and low self-esteem. And, let me tell you, such an intense feeling of self-doubt triggers fears in the hearts of such children – affecting their future chances of success considerably!

Why is Failure Essential for Achieving Success?

Children should bear in mind that failures are the pillars of success. In order to taste the fruits of success, one needs to experience failure at some point of time in his life.

Walt Disney was a renowned American cartoonist, animator, and entrepreneur who was once fired from a reputed media house because his editor felt that Mr. Disney was devoid of imagination. However, it was the very same gentleman who went on to become an extraordinary creative genius thanks to his innovative ideas on animation. The initial failure of Walt Disney had added fuel to his desire of achieving worldwide success and recognition.

Let me now share with you another instance of failure that made way for success.

I am certain that most of you are familiar with the name Isaac Newton. When he was a child, Newton’s mother had pulled him out of school since she wanted him to work on the family farm. But then, Newton continued to fail in his attempts to till the land. Finally, Newton’s mother let him continue his education and soon afterwards, Newton was enrolled in the Cambridge University.

Today, the world applauds the immense contribution of Newton, in the field of Math and Physics. He grew up to be one of the greatest scientists of all times!

How to Help Kids learn to Accept Failure?

Every parent dreams of children who are successful – earning outstanding grades in their exams, excelling in the extra-curricular activities at school and winning trophies.

However, there might be times when your child is incapable of meeting their goals. For instance, your child had hoped to achieve about 90% marks in his Math exams. But, when the results were declared, he discovered that he had scored merely 72%. Immediately, your child’s brows get furrowed and he gives in to disappointment. And, when he returns home, he is unable to concentrate on his studies!

In order to keep children healthy, happy and successful, parents need to ensure that they handle all kinds of failures with a smile on their faces. Children need to learn how to overcome disappointment and continue their efforts to earn success.

Let us discuss some of the best tips that can help kids learn to accept failures and use them as stepping stones to success.

#1. Be A Guide for your Child

Your child might be away at school when he experiences a failure. Or, he might be receiving lessons from his tutor.

Therefore, you cannot be close to him every time he is incapable of achieving his targets. For this reason, you need to prepare your child to take care of setbacks. Try to be a guide to your child rather than being a savior, dear parents.

The next time your child returns home crying after he has lost the elocution contest conducted at his school, engage in a conversation with him.

Ask him about his performance.

Next, encourage him to share with you how his other classmates have performed. Once he has done that, you can ask him if he knows the exact reason for his failure. For instance, your child might have faltered at the stage due to a weak vocabulary or a lack of imagination. Instead of telling him about his problems, let him speak them out on his own.

Also, ask him about the possible solutions to his problems and how he can emerge victorious the next time.

#2. Limit the Praise

While it is good to praise a child once in a while, showering the child with too much praise might prove to be detrimental for the psychological health of the child.

That is because, your child would not be in your vicinity throughout the day. He would have to attend school, go for tuitions or be absorbed in his lessons while studying independently. The school teachers and tutors of your child might not prefer the idea of lavishing your child with a great amount of praise. Moreover, when you praise your child excessively, he starts becoming dependent on others for the purpose of constant validation.

As a result, he might start expecting constant positive feedback to feel important.

There is more. A child who is praised too often ends up becoming over-confident and ignores his duties. For instance, a child who is always told that he is brilliant in English would not pay much attention to his grammar.

He would refrain from practicing the grammatical exercises regularly since his subconscious mind knows it quite well that he would score decent grades in his exams just because he has the aptitude in this subject. Offering too much praise might even encourage narcissism in children.

#3. Motivate Kids to Try New Things

Generally, most children are fond of engaging in passions that appeal to them. For example, while some kids love the idea of gardening, there are other who are drawn to reading books or listening to music. A few others might be really fond of painting or singing!

You should encourage your kid to explore different kinds of activities every now and then.

Even if he is great at painting, introduce him to piano lessons at least once a week. Let him learn to play the piano. This would help him broaden his horizons and therefore in the future, he would not be reluctant to learn a particular subject just because he does not like it.

Furthermore, learning various skills would make your child more dynamic and talented. So naturally, he would grow up into a multi-faceted personality who is willing to confront all kinds of challenges. He would not be scared of losing any battle.

Engaging your child in multiple activities would also expose him to diverse situations, people, and experiences.

Thus, children would be enthusiastic about all their hobbies and steer clear of boredom.

#4. Teach kids to Delay their Gratification

When kids want something, they want it almost immediately.

For instance, you are sitting with your child at his study desk, as he is completing his History assignment. Just after twenty-five minutes into his lesson, your child looks at you and has a terrible urge to join his friends at the playground in your neighborhood. He asks you for your permission to play with his friends.

Now, I would suggest you do not to let your child give in to his desires immediately.

Instead, inspire your child to develop ‘self-control’, as it is an important skill that would help him deal with complicated situations quite easily, throughout his life.

Therefore, tell your child that he can join his friends only after he has completed his assignment or finished memorizing the dates in a particular chapter in History. Or, if your child is expecting a candy from you, tell him that he would get a candy only when he has completed learning his lesson properly.

Once you start practising this, your child would realize that it is homework first and entertainment or candies later.

This would prepare your child to accept situations and develop one of the most crucial life skills: patience.

#5. Be a Great Role Model

Children generally observe their parents very closely. They are likely to imitate the actions of their parents, so you need to be cautious while you are in the presence of your children.

Therefore, you need to deal with your own disappointments gracefully.

Give it a second thought before you panic when you misplace your cell phone or a brand new pair of earrings! You are not displaying healthy coping skills if you fuss over your lost belongings. Similarly, if you have cooked something that did not turn out to be great, remember to be calm and quiet about the situation.

You can practise saying this to yourself, “I am capable of great things, never mind if I have lost it this time.” Or, “I shall try harder next time.”

Also, make it a point to accept your mistakes. For instance, you had promised your child that you would bring him the latest version of the ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops’; do apologize to your child if you forget to get it for him. Tell your child, “I am sorry for forgetting to get your game. But I shall definitely get it tomorrow.”

Remember to be good role models for your child!

#6. Let Kids Teach Others

Failures are crucial to gaining success. Do you know why? Well, it is simply due to the fact that we gain a great deal of experience once we are a part of failures!

Therefore, you need to encourage your children to share their knowledge.

For instance, if your child has not done well in his Math exams, make sure your child improves his basics about the Math topics that are his problem-areas. Once he has succeeded in doing so, he should offer to teach those Math concepts to his classmates. In other words, he should extend his assistance to the students who confront similar difficulties in this subject.

Sharing their mistakes with others would prevent others from making similar errors.

This would make people around your child more confident. Indirectly, this would benefit your child because his confidence levels would also shoot up once he notices the newly developed confidence in his friends. Moreover, when your child teaches others, he would also be aware of his own loopholes in learning the lessons.

The concept of ‘peer-tutoring’ (imparting academic lessons to one’s peers for better understanding) is gaining popularity in educational institutions.

In short, failures pave the way for infinite creativity and everlasting success. When your child fails, he learns about his mistakes and his problem-areas. He understands his learning issues and the significance of dedication and determination. So, why not help your kids embrace the failures that they experience? You would notice that they have started working on their weaknesses and are marching towards success once they realize that failures are important!


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