Have you ever encouraged your child to fail?
If you haven’t before, you might consider doing so.
It’s taken me a long time to get to the point where I actively encourage my children to fail. At first, I suspect, like many new parents, my focus was on teaching my children to do things right–to never fail. I would tell my oldest daughter how to do almost everything. (Yeah, it was pretty bad.)
Thankfully, I learned to switch my focus from praising her for doing something right to praising her for trying hard, and failing.
WHEN TRYING IS SCARY
To children and adults, trying anything hard can be scary. Learning something new can be scary. It’s so scary because we’re afraid to fail. If we want our kids to get past the fear of failing, we have to teach them how to fail. Failing is a skill, and the key to failing is identifying what caused us to fail. Then learn from it.
Knowing How to Fail
As a parent and teacher, I really want to set my children up to succeed. But I’m glad I finally learned that the best way to teach my children to succeed in life is to teach them how to fail in life.
When a child is afraid of failing, it can be a good sign. If the child is that emotionally affected by the idea of failing, she must be that committed to succeeding.
What children don’t understand is that, more often than not, before any of us can do something well, we first do it poorly. As we learn from our mistakes, we improve.
Too often, if a frustrated student isn’t accepting of failure, she will quit. To help our children succeed, we have to teach them that failure is a necessary part of the learning process!
Overcoming Fear of Failure
I have battled perfectionism for years, and I’m glad that I haven’t let it take over my life nor my children’s education.
We are homeschoolers, and I have a son that is such a perfectionist that the fear of failure has sometimes paralyzed him when he has been trying to complete his math lessons. The solution for him has been for me to reward him for his efforts. Which means that I have rewarded him each time he failed.
By giving this 10 year old chocolate chips when he got a math problem wrong, it helped eliminate his fear of failure. Now, months later, he doesn’t need the chocolate, and he enjoys the challenge of his math lessons. And math is now his favorite subject!
Failure is important and necessary.
To overcome the fear of failure, we must celebrate it.