‘Fail’ is a one of the words that parents dread especially when it concerns any aspect of their child’s learning and development. However, failing is a part of life that one cannot completely avoid and with our children, it is important to teach them how to manage their failures.
Here are some things we can do:
Identify the object of failure: Discuss with your child and narrow down what exactly he/she failed at. For instance, if your child lost to a competitor in a game of puzzle, rather than express negative emotions to say “I failed”, “I lost” or “I’m a loser”, “I’m a failure”, encourage your child to say things like “I lost at this puzzle game”, I will get better at it. This identification is the first step towards failing forward and helping your child preserve his/her self-esteem.
Examine the process that led to it: This involves evaluating all activities that led to the final result of failure. For example, if your child failed to complete a daily house chore, you should ask questions to evaluate what activities may have happened in the course of the day that affected the completion of the chore. This helps to answer the question “Why did I fail at ……..”.
Identify specific lessons learnt from the result: This step helps your child to understand the effect of the failure and also identify what can be done differently to get a better result next time.
Always remember that failure is an event, not a person, therefore, equip children with positive language even when failure occurs. Also, failure is not a crime but when we do not pick out lessons from our failure, it becomes a waste of a learning opportunity especially for our children.
“Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” – Henry Ford