Dealing Successfully with Failure
- “Such a clumsy girl! Spilt the milk again and messed up your dress and the floor!”
- “No way! You are not stopping the swimming class half way. You cannot give up like this!”
- “You should have finished your homework long back. You never finish it on time.”
- “What can you expect when you did not practice, you could have worked harder!”
Child feels discouraged, insecure, worthless and thinks “I am such a failure.”
When one hears the word ‘Failure’ why does it bring anxiety and set alarm bells ringing?
As parents we are fearful of our child making mistakes, failing, especially when they do not perform in their school/college and extra-curricular activities as per expectations. We tend to panic that our child may lose out on opportunities. We get bothered with what people will say. We start to doubt our capability as parents! As a result, through our words and actions, we convey to the child that they are not good enough.
We also would like to protect our child from the frustration, anxiety and sadness that they experience from failing. Hence, to prevent them from making mistakes, we start doing things for them that they could well do, creating an over-dependency.
Effects of fear of failure in children:
- Stops the child from exploring new ways,
- Child tends to play safe and not take risks
- Reduces the love for learning.
Pressures and stresses are a part of life, and in the face of it parents need to be the ‘Emotional Support’ for their child, by empowering them to take on challenges, and building their confidence to persist with what they would like to do.So how can parents help the child take failure head on and succeed to build a healthy self-esteem?
According to the ages and stages of the development of the child, parents need to take the child’s capabilities, abilities and interests into account. Help them to find their unique strengths.
- When children make mistakes,show them that it's OK and we can make amends rather than dread a mistake.
- Empathize when child is frustrated or sad when she fials at something or does not achieve what she wanted.
“I can imagine how disappointed you may be feeling. You came this close to winning it.”
- Aid the child to problem-solve and set realistic expectations and goals and extend help.
“So you do not want to go for swimming class all days in the week. Yes, it can get very tiring. Can you try for alternate days?”
- Appreciate the effort more than the result.
“You worked so hard on it. You just kept practising and didn’t give up…You must be feeling so good about finishing the project on time!”
- Set a positive attitude on failure.
“It is okay to make mistakes.” “Even Amma/Appa make mistakes.” “Can we try again?”
This show was aired on 104.8 FM on Wednesday, 17th February 2016 and panellists spoke about how we can help children cultivate a constructive relationship with failure.