How to Help Kids Learn to Fail

This article was last modified on May 13th, 2020.

“Failure is not an option.” How many times did our parents use this vapid expression? Probably more times than we can count. But, is this saying truly effective? The short answer is yes, but unfortunately not for the right reasons.

According to an article on healthline.com, the consistent intolerance of failure can actually lead to atychiphobia, which is the irrational and persistent fear of failing. These fears can enhance anxiety, carry over into adulthood, and ultimately bring about health issues.

So, what does this mean? Should we just accept mediocrity and underachievement in fear of our child’s future behaviors?

No, what we should accept is our children’s effort and intention. For the most part, children don’t play a game with the intention to come in last, but it’s inevitable that at some point they will lose. And as we all know, children are taught, at a young age that winning is the ultimate goal. This is why it is paramount to not only encourage your child to achieve their best, but also to teach them to accept their failures.

For example, instead of reprimanding your child for a bad grade, take the time to ask what steps they took to prepare for the exam, and help them assess what they could’ve done differently. This is a way to build your child’s accountability and afford them the opportunity to turn their failure into future success. By being understanding and compassionate with your child’s failures you will train them into recognizing their downfall and how to flourish from it.

If we instill in our children the importance of expelling all of their efforts into everything they do, failures won’t become a devastation, but a learning experience to grow from. Because, when a child gives a project or task all of their effort and the outcome is not what they anticipated, they can feel comfortable knowing that they genuinely applied themself.

All in all, as parents, it is crucial that we let our children fail and allow them to learn that failure is a necessary part of life. After all, we’ve had our fair share of faux pas.

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