“I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
We all know that the feeling of failing at something isn’t good. It makes us want to give up and not try again! And our kids feel that way too! It can make them afraid of failing.
In society we are conditioned to fear failure – and our children absorb this. Failure is seen as a really bad thing, even possibly making someone an outcast, someone with no friends, no money and feeling terrible! It’s not surprising that being afraid of failing can stop some kids from trying in the first place!
We need to show our kids that it’s normal to fail – and it isn’t a bad thing, more a step along the journey of learning, on the path to success! It’s also normal to feel afraid of failing! All successful people will have experienced failing along the way. It’s how they have dealt with failing that makes them successful – they don’t give up and they keep trying!
Make sure your child knows that you love them whatever happens!
How you demonstrate this comes down to your reaction when your child doesn’t succeed at something. If you’re down on them then they could associate failure with very negative emotions, even feeling that they must be inadequate in some way. If you show that how they do doesn’t affect your love for them then they won’t be scared to try and risk the possibility of failing.
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan.
Kids might think that failing is all bad, but you can help them to see that they can learn from the experience of failing. Point out to them that trying and failing is a lot better than not trying at all!
Talk to your child about what they could do differently the next time and what they did when it didn’t work out. For instance if it’s a maths question, go through with them what they did and where things went wrong. They’ll become less afraid of failing the more they challenge the feeling!
Ask them to think about other ways of doing the question to get a different answer. If it still isn’t right you can go through the process again with them. You’ll be teaching them to persevere and be resilient which are great skills for them to have in the future.
Parents can often feel under pressure to be seen as getting everything right! It’s much better for your child to see that you don’t get everything right all of the time – and let them see how you deal with getting things wrong. If you’re a good role model then they have something to follow!
If you get something wrong, for example you might forget an appointment, lose a game of tennis or spell a word wrong, it’s how you deal with it that matters and your child will start to understand this. If you lose at tennis but then you arrange to play again, or keep trying to win the next game, your child will see that you’re persisting – and eventually you’re likely to win with this attitude.
If you lose at tennis then go off in a sulk and say you’ll never play again then your child will see this too – you don’t want to teach them not to try again!
Learning how to fail can be almost more important than getting through with flying colours!
Talk to your child about their feelings
How do they feel about failing at something? It’s important that kids are allowed to talk through their emotions with you and that you give them time to do this. You know how you feel when you talk through a problem? Suddenly it doesn’t seem like such a big issue. It’s the same thing with emotions – if kids can talk about how they feel then it might not feel so bad.
Let them know you understand how they feel and talk about times that you have felt that way too.
Explain to kids that failure can be positive
Failing can motivate people to try harder and do better! Michael Jordan is a great example – he was told initially that he was too short to play basketball. He ignored this and practised really hard until he became a success – and even then he had to cope with losing a lot, he just kept on trying!
Don’t always step in to prevent your child failing or getting something wrong. This is really hard to do! They’ll never learn lessons from failure though if you keep preventing it from happening!
Much better to let them get things wrong and be there to help them deal with it!
It’s easy to see how kids can fear failing – it seems like an abyss that they could fall down with no help in sight! If you let them fail though they will know how it feels and know that they can deal with it if it happens – and that it’s not so bad!
If you help your kids through when they get things wrong, they won’t be scared to try and try again – and they will find ways to succeed!
We kept trying with our Personalised Bottle Bands and we had to experience getting things wrong on the way…..but we persisted and now we know that our customers love our Bottle Bands, the simple and stylish way to label your kids’ water bottles! You’ll love them too!
You’ll find our Personalised Bottle Bands and other products in our shop!