How to help kids deal with failure


Parental missions tend to focus on helping their children to succeed. However, children need support learning how to fail.


To raise resilient, problem-solving, persistent, and adaptive adults, we need to allow our children to fail. Learning how to cope and solve problems, children have to experience small failures. Protecting our children from failure is not good for them, particularly when they are young. Instead, failure should be treated as a learning experience for our children.


When kids cannot cope with failure, they tend to develop anxiety. No matter what age, failure leads to meltdowns when it does occur. Even more important, it can make children give up on trying – or trying something new.


Here are a few steps on how to help kids manage their failure. 



Demonstrate empathy

Show empathy to your child when you see them in shame, sadness and distress when face with failure. When a child feels frustrated or disappointed, it’s best not to dismiss their feelings. Instead, it’s best to acknowledge their failure and encourage them to do better. 


Consider yourself a model to your child

The idea is that failure is a reality that everyone faces at times. You might provide examples of your failures in the past and how you approach them. In addition, when the time comes, it’s good to model how you handle disappointment. Finally, parents can let their children know that mistakes and missteps are part of life. As much as we all prefer things to go according to plan, it’s important to let our kids know when things don’t go exactly as planned.


Take advantage of the opportunity to learn.

A child’s failure can be used as an opportunity for parents to teach them acceptance and problem-solving skills. You can brainstorm with your child what she can do the next time to improve her chances of success. Perhaps, your kids could think of a different way to approach the situation differently when the failure occurs. It’s all about the balance of acceptance and change and taking the opportunity to learn. 


Taking a step back and letting kids fail

Seeing your child fail can be very difficult, but they can only learn to handle disappointment through trial and error. Likewise, parents must learn to let go for their child to succeed. Otherwise, they rob children of the very experiences that require problem-solving, flexibility, and confidence to take on new challenges.


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