Everyday Learners: Give Your Child the Opportunity to Fail | News, Sports, Jobs


Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press

An unidentified student rests at his desk as Mojave Unified School District Superintendent Katherine Aguirre, rear center, addresses students ahead of their spring break at California City Middle School in California City, Calif., on March 11, 2022.

Your child’s failure is one of the biggest fears you can have as a parent. Children are doomed. How they recover from their failures is more important. Equally important is how to know if your children feel safe talking about their failures.

When your kids talk openly about their failures, they thrive. If they become closed off and avoid certain topics, they are still not comfortable sharing their failures with you.

There are several other ways to tell if your child feels safe talking about failures. When your kids aren’t open about their failures, they tend to avoid questions, shut down, and seem to give up. They use phrases that indicate they are giving up. They might drop out of school, sports, hobbies, and everything in between. They are also reluctant to try new things.

They think they won’t be good at it, so they don’t even want to try. They are afraid to fail. They no longer have the motivation to try. These are red flags that indicate your children are afraid of failing. Failing consumes their motivation to grow and try again.

Another common sign your child is feeling unsafe is when he answers all of your questions with “I don’t know” or casually shrugs his shoulders. They don’t want to face their failures and tell you about them. To solve this problem, take a different approach when asking them questions. Give them the opportunity to talk about the areas in which they struggle. Give them the opportunity to express their feelings. Give them space to talk about their failures.

Just like there are red flags, there are green flags that help you know your child feels safe to fail. For example, when they tell you openly about their failures, it’s a good sign. Plus, when they take those failures and process them to improve on what they failed at, then you know they’re learning. They grow up. They take these failures as opportunities to become better, smarter and more successful.

When you are able to recognize these red flags from green flags, there are things you can do to help your children feel safe to fail. There are also things that get in the way of their progress towards feeling safe to fail. Don’t blame them for their failures. Acknowledge their feelings. The last thing they want to do is disappoint you. Help them learn from their mistakes rather than blaming them. Listen to what they have to say so they feel heard. This will help them feel safe to fail.

Don’t tell them to move on. This could greatly hamper their motivation to try again. Instead, praise them for their efforts! Let them know that none of their efforts go unnoticed! Be empathetic, not apathetic. Help them evaluate the lessons they have learned. This will help them understand where they went wrong. Be gentle with your children when discussing their failures. Opening up about their failures is a struggle for them. They may have linked their success to your love. Help them understand that failure is not something they should be afraid of.

Most of the time, failure is correlated with their academic success. They may think their failures will determine how much love you have for them. It shouldn’t be. Their grades should not be determining factors of your love and their happiness. On the contrary, their grades should help them grow. They should help them understand the gaps in their learning. When your kids feel safe enough to talk openly about their failures, it helps them thrive. The fact that they actively seek help and seek more instruction helps them become more independent. They see their failures as opportunities to learn. To learn more, watch Everyday Strong’s Safety to Fail video at http://uwayuc.org/EveryDayStrongVideos.


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