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Failure Is An Option

Updated on September 1, 2016

It is inevitable your child will fail. He will fail to empty the trash, fail to make the team, and sadly fail a class. Failure by nature of human existence is an option. As parents we must know how to teach our children to learn from their failures and hence become successful well-adjusted individuals?

The Definition defines failure as: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success; nonperformance of something due, required, or expected; a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency; the failure of crops. When children fail at something they fall within one of these definitions, except of course "the failure of crops".

The Early Stages Of Failure

Failure begins early for children, as babies they have no skills and every area of their lives must be learned. Children's first attempt at walking and talking have many failed attempts but with practice and continuous effort success is inevitable. During the process of development within the household there were bumps and bruises but as babies they were determined in their aspirations.

Where To Begin

When you examine toddlers' attempt to walk you can observe some principles in their determination to walk. The first principle is learning to embrace frustration. When toddlers attempt to walk they first try to stand. The standing stage is froth with frustrating falls and wobbling stand ups. However, toddlers instinctively learn to deal with these setbacks by learning the support technique. They lean on the sofa or press on the bed to support a stand. Toddlers handle their frustration by incorporating outside tools.

Another Instinctive Principle

The second principle is learning to be creative after experiencing a setback. Toddlers are very creative in their determination to stand. This creativity they take with them in making the first independent step. Realizing that balancing is a necessary part of walking they engage with objects within the vicinity to develop balancing abilities. Occasionally they will grab the wrong object which will cause a fall. Their frustration enhance the understanding of what works and what does not work as it relates to balancing and eventually walking.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

The Next Principle

The third principle in dealing with failure is using various tasks to create success. Toddlers learn to incorporate their crawling abilities to get to an object they believe will help them stand, balance and ultimately walk. When observing toddlers at the early stage of walking, notice that they might start of crawling, then suddenly they will be standing with the help of a sturdy furniture and then leaning on the object they walk to the desired destination. Instinctively, they understands that varying tasks help accomplish the desired result.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

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The Last Principle

The final principle in overcoming defeat is asking for help. Children have yet to be prideful or arrogant so they freely ask for help to accomplish what they want. The most delightful example of this is when you hear a toddler say to an adult, "up, up". The toddler wants to be lifted into the arms of the adult to get from point A to point B or to see above the knee. It is a natural act for them to call on someone to help them achieve.

The Outcome

Helping children learn how to incorporate these principles will ultimately get them to the end of the finish line. It will result in success in whatever area they strive for and in the end their achievement will improve their self-esteem. However success is not guaranteed; even when the above principles are developed children will fail at something; they will not make the team; they will score low on an important statewide assessment; their science project will not make it to the next level. They, your children will come to you tearful, disappointment and at times heartbroken by their lack of achievement. What’s a parent to do in those instances?

Sad goalie CC by Flickr
Sad goalie CC by Flickr | Source

Acknowledge The Hurt

The first step is acknowledging your children’s disappointment; it is not a good idea to say "get over it”. This expression conveys to them that their feelings and aspiration do not matter. Instead, parents, after acknowledging your children's feelings help them identify what went wrong. Identifying the weak areas, the mistakes if you will, will prepare them for the next endeavor. Sometimes even with all this preparation the desired result may not transpire. It is at this stage that a parent's love is vital in helping children understand that correcting failures will not always result in success. Teaching them to be objective as they examine the negative outcome will expand their discernment to acceptance of the unfavorable outcome.

CC by Flickr
CC by Flickr | Source

Social Pressure

Peer pressure plays a major role in your children’s measurement of failure. Children as social beings, also look to feel welcomed and accepted by their peers. Frequently, they find themselves alienated from social events which will bring on a since of failure, a strong feeling of inadequacy. When this happens some parents feel helpless and frequently over compensate for their children’s rejection which can only heighten the peer pressure. The best course of action for parents is to help their children understand why they were targeted. Understanding why something happens or did not happen is a great combating tool for children. If and when your children are rebuffed from a circle of friends the next course of action is to redirect them to a different club or group. After the exclusion, immediately guide them to another group of interest do not allow them to sit alone for too long

A Possible Medical Issue

Children will blunder the elementary of task, when they do remember not to overreact. The resounding advice is first find out why the behavior occurred and then work with your children to fix the problem. This is the teachable moment for parents as they work toward getting their children to admit their mistakes, make adjustments and move forward. When the behavior is habitual even after several attempts to rectify the situation, consider that the problem might be of a medical nature. Consult with your children’s pedestrian to eliminate this possibility. Periodically, misconduct is a reflection of internal imbalances in the body. It is possible your child has an iron deficiency, lead poisoning or some type of chemical imbalance. Your children’s diet should also be adjusted to ensure a healthy demeanor.

Failure is an option but it is not the only option. Teaching children early to grapple with life’s disappointments will improve their disposition to happy, healthy, confident beings.


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    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 2 years ago from New Delhi India

      As all parents should know that failure are stepping stones to success. Also parents should not try to make their children achieve what they couldn't achieve themselves.