Failure is good for children

No, we don’t want our kids to fail and parents today go to great lengths to protect their kids from the pain of dashed expectations, and all because we don’t want our children to feel bad about themselves.

Somewhere along the line, we became a society that promotes the fact that everybody should get a trophy – everyone is a winner. We know it’s not true. It’s also a terrible example to set. Losing is every bit as important in human growth as winning. Rewarding your child for doing nothing will teach him just that. Nothing.

Disappointment can actually benefit your child — as long as you teach him/her how to bounce back from it and cope with failure. Learning to deal with setbacks helps them develop key characteristics they’ll need to succeed, such as coping skills, emotional resilience, creative thinking, and the ability to collaborate. Parents see failure as a source of pain for their child instead of an opportunity to say, ‘I can deal with this. I’m strong. Also, lavishing a child with compliments can do more harm than good. Kids who are overpraised become dependent on others for validation (“It’s only a good picture if Mom tacks it up on the fridge”) and may end up needing a constant flow of positive feedback to feel valued. You get confidence from overcoming adversity, not from being told how great you are all the time.

You can’t shield your child from every little setback and disappointments are a part of life. Instead, it is important to teach your kids about overcoming failure:

  • Everyone has different talents. There are just some things we aren’t cut out for. It’s best to learn that at an early age. The good news is that they are a champion at something. Guide them towards where their gifts lie.
  • Have class. Teach your children how to fail with dignity? How a person accepts failure is an easy indicator of the character within. It also almost guarantees future success. Respect is gained outwardly and inwardly.
  • Learning from mistakes. Every mistake we make is an educational experience. Every success is built upon a foundation of errors and corrections.
  • Teaching others. When we fail, we gain experience. It’s important to share that knowledge. Use it to mentor others experiencing similar difficulties. Instill in your children the responsibility to share their mistakes in hopes to save another from making the same.
  • Perseverance. Determination wins many victories. We should not allow our children to give up on themselves. Perseverance will eventually lead to positive results and a lifelong lesson never to be forgotten.
  • Definition of success. Looking into the future, what do you wish for your child? I’m guessing happiness tops that list. Don’t get confused and do distinguish between the important stuff and the rest.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: In the entrepreneurial arena, failure can be a great thing if a positive lesson is learned. Allowing your children to fail will force them to create new ways to accomplish their goals and learn from their mistakes. This will lead to confident children who know how to persevere when times are tough. Always seek to find the “learning lesson” in each adversity and encourage your children to NEVER give up.