Wednesday, 1 February 2012

How can your children benefit from their failures

Why it is important to fail and what can we do as parents to help our child benefit from these failures?

As parents we want our children to grow up to be successful and in order that they achieve this there will be failures along the way. How, we as parents handle these setbacks will determine how our children develop.
What does your child conclude when he brings home a school report that is not up to standard and you get upset and cross, maybe even angry at him? He will already feel bad because he has let himself down but now you’re angry as well, he is likely to conclude that he is a failure. 
So what would be a better response?  You could ask a few open questions such as - “How do you feel about the report?” “What could you have done differently?” “What help do you need?”

These questions would allow your child to think about what he could do, he would feel understood and he would conclude that there was something he could do about it, instead of feeling a failure.

Remember it is not your job to produce results with your children.  When you expect your children to live up to your expectations, they are always going to live with the fear of failing and letting you down. This will stop them developing confidence and they will feel like they have to do what others want them to do and this will prevent them from being self-motivated.

Can you recall when your child was a baby and first started to walk, he didn’t go from crawling to walking without falling down a few times.  At first he let go of the sofa and stood then wobbled and sat down, but you didn’t get cross with him because he didn’t walk at his first attempt! Each time he took a few steps and sat down he learnt and the next time he would take another step until he was walking unaided.

Remember we learn more from our failures than from our successes.

Thomas A Edison said when asked by a reporter about his results when trying to invent the light bulb - “Results! Why, man, I have got lots of results. I know several thousand things that won't work.” Thomas A Edison

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