Why it’s OK for kids to fail
As parents, we of course, want to see our kids succeed, but it’s just as important to let them fail too. Here’s why it’s fine, and even beneficial, to sometimes let your child fall flat.
They Learn It’s Okay To Try
Children who understand that it’s all right to fail also grasp that it’s okay to try. If the pressure is off, kids won’t hesitate to plunge into new and varied activities, which, by the way, open them up to even more experiences. In addition, youngsters who are permitted to make missteps learn to solve problems and better understand actions have consequences.
Helps Kids Deal With Irritation
Another reason it’s okay for kids to fail is they learn to cope with frustration — a trait that can also serve them well as grownups. When children experience, say, a bad grade, it’s okay for them to be unhappy for a spell, as long as they understand there are ways to do better next time. Making changes, then trying again, increases learning and builds the all-important skills of perseverance and resilience.
Failure Teaches Independence
When parents don’t swoop in to save their little ones, the children are forced to learn how to avoid repeating the same mistake and to try new strategies. Parents can turn failures into real teaching opportunities.
The Learn to Solve Problems
It’s okay when kids fail because that’s how they learn to solve problems. However, it is the parents’ job to judge what a child is ready to handle. You must be certain she or he has the tools and support necessary to succeed on their own.
It doesn’t always work out this way but ideally; failures are met with opportunities for feedback and reflection. Initiate a brief discussion with your child about what went wrong and how it can be resolved. Be mindful that if kids are unsuccessful due to a lack of skills or strategies, repeated failures may only worsen things.
Parents can also help their child understand that they can use failure to practice for success. When the situation arises — and it will — make time to discuss the process: What was learned by trying something new? What new things were learned along the way? What ways can you approach things differently?
Helps Them Identify Their Emotions
Also, if your child struck out at something and is upset, encourage them to acknowledge and label their emotions as “angry,” “frustrated,” or “sad,” for example. Be sure not to brush off their feelings. Remind them of their strengths and help them pinpoint what may have contributed to the failure. Then, devise a plan for next time.
It’s also helpful if you explain to your child that everyone fails at times and in fact, including you. Volunteer a story about a time you fell short and how you handled the frustration and disappointment. Be honest and open with your kids and they’ll appreciate and respect you for it.
Teaches them to Pursue Alternative Strategies
At the same time, children need to understand that sometimes when we fail, there’s not much that can be done about it at the moment. At times, failure must be accepted as a part of life, which must go on. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always offer “do-overs,” in which case, they’ll need to figure out a different approach.
Knowing why it’s okay for kids to fail, you can, when the situation arises, help your child see it, too. The next thing you know, they’ll be well-adjusted young adults who are unafraid of new activities and experiences.