The way education and parenting have been developing in the past decades was focused singularly on driving and motivating children to be outstanding and the best they can be. But is this really needed? Can this type of behavior towards children send the wrong message — that one must be perfect in every situation when the road to success includes failure?
How does the acceptance of failure benefit children? Children need to be allowed to fail in order to learn important lessons for themselves. While parents understand the importance of letting a child learn to walk and fall occasionally, it is harder to implement this when it comes to things such as grades and social contacts.
According to studies of the Child Mind Institute, children who do not accept failure become more vulnerable to anxiety and are afraid to try new things. Not allowing failures in childhood does not help the child learn how to bounce back from disappointments and mishaps in life. The ability to handle failure in young stages of life will help them accept failure and move on when they are adults.
When a child fails, it is important for parents to show a belief that they will eventually succeed. This will make the child more confident in their abilities in the future. Constant intervention in what the child does shows a lack of trust in managing things for themselves. Failing is important as it disperses pessimism by showing that life does not end with a defeat.
Realistically, you should let your child fail only on things that are not threatening to them and that they can objectively handle. This is so the child does not feel extreme shame and inadequacy and be reluctant to try things again. A parent should praise the child for any small accomplishment.
When a child fails, it is important to not be critical or mean. The parent can encourage their child in believing that things can be solved for the better in the future. For the child to feel closer to the parent, the parent can share a story of their own failure when they were children and how they handled the situation. A parent can echo on the feelings of the child by saying “I know that you are upset, but things will get better next time for sure.” This will bring the parent and child closer together and provide the emotional strength in handling failures in the future.