Teach your child to fail and win
Failing is inevitable, necessary and good!
“You will fail,” are three important words your child needs to hear from you often. Let’s face it, none of us enjoy failing or watching our child fail, but it is an important part of the learning process.
We can all agree that making mistakes is part of being human, and none of us can control the outcome of everything. It is only reasonable to expect failure once in a while. So, if it’s going to happen, it is necessary to teach your child to expect failure and know what to do once it happens.
I remember when I was seven years old and I had decided to ride my skateboard down a steep hill without a helmet. I fell flat on my face. Or the time I stayed up all night, binge-watching Netflix, instead of proofreading my 20-page essay for class.
The consequences of those choices were painful, and I inevitably decided that I would never make those same mistakes. Failing and feeling the sting of consequences is necessary to learn and retain important life lessons. I’ll never forget those lessons.
If failure is unavoidable, and if it is necessary for learning important lessons, then failing must be good! Yet so many students feel downright terrible about failing because of the pressure they feel to get perfect test scores or to maintain a perfect report card.
Many students are so paralyzed by failure that they don’t dare take any risks, don’t dare ask any questions for fear of being discovered as imperfect.
Too many students would rather not try at all for the risk of failing. This is the reason why they avoid work, give up on school, and end up truly failing because they never gave themselves a chance.
We must teach students, instead, to embrace failure, learn from their mistakes, and apply those lessons to reach success in the long run.
Teach your child how to fail and still win:
What’s better than learning from your own mistakes? Learning from other people’s mistakes! Sharing stories of your past failures and lessons will teach your child that courage is about taking action despite fear. It will also reinforce the fact that everybody fails – even adults – and that failure is just a part of life for everyone.
Sharing stories helps your child avoid shame, guilt, or regret – the emotions that cause them to lose confidence and get stuck in a rut.
Here are some key phrases to use when your child fails so that they can move forward with a positive attitude:
- “I’m sorry you didn’t reach your goal. What will you do differently next time to get a better result?”
- “I’m proud of you for trying so hard! Now let’s look at what didn’t work so you can figure out how to do better next time.”
- “You had a great goal, but I think your routine was missing a step to reach it, what can you do differently next time?”
- “Well, you’ve figured out 5 ways on how to get the incorrect answer, now you’ll know what to avoid doing on the test!”
- “Maybe sleeping with the book under your pillow wasn’t the best way to study for that test. Let’s try using flashcards and see how you do next time!”
- “I know you don’t feel like doing your homework right now, so let’s figure out how long it will take you and what you can plan to do for fun afterward.”
- “Answer what you know, try your best on what you don’t understand, and write down questions for your teacher/tutor to answer for you tomorrow.”
Notice how these phrases focus on changing the future instead of dwelling on the past. Practice this approach often an your will foster a growth-mindset –one that allows your child to anticipate failure, learn from it, and adjust their habits until they reach their desired goals.