10 important lessons parents must teach their children about failure

Find out how failure can be a good thing for your child

January 12, 2018

The most important leadership role we can undertake is that of parent-hood. It comes with a lot of responsibility, primarily because  parents need to set boundaries for themselves. An over-emphasis on success at a young age can scar a child for life. Hence, it is equally important that parents teach their children to think of failure as a constructive experience.

Here are 10 ways you can teach your children resilience:

  1. Define success

You define success stressing upon certain things like a limousine or penthouse. It is more important that your child turns out to be a good human being than a business tycoon. If you want your child to have the right priorities, do not market materialism as happiness.

  1. Keep failure as an option

Some parents go as far as to tell their children, “Do not come home if you do not get all A*s”. Even if this was a joke, it will have a lasting impact on the teenager. These terms dictating conditional love stop troubled children from approaching their parents for help.

  1. Manage expectations

Kids sprain their ankle, picnics get cancelled and toy shops run out of popular toys. You can't control all that, but you can mitigate your child’s frustration by checking his/her over-excitement. Rather than fixating on future plans as guarantees, discuss them as possibilities.

  1. Share your let-downs

When your child comes to you in distress, empathise with him/her instead of simply brushing off his/her concerns with “you will do better next time”. You must acknowledge the child's hard work and share anecdotes of similar failures that you overcame.

  1. Leave it on the field

Make your child understand that you will be more concerned if they cheat themselves of effort rather than if they do not bring that trophy home. Moreover, teach them to remember the good things about an undesirable experience.

  1. Do not compare

Nothing is more debilitating than comparing your kid to his peers, brothers and cousins. Children who have to deal with constant comparisons grow up to be bitter, selfish and competitive.

  1. Laugh in adversity

Teach your child to be patient since s/he may not even want the same thing tomorrow that he is crying for today. Additionally, set a good example. Do not curse and scream over minor mishaps like overturning the milk pot.

  1. Encourage them to risk mistakes

You do not know if you will succeed if you try 100 times, but it is a fact that you will fail the 100 times you do not try. It is about time you stopped stigmatising defeat and measured success in terms of perseverance.

  1. Inculcate the skill of sportsmanship

Firstly, a true sportsperson neither gloats about the victory nor rubs a failure in his/her opponent’s face. Secondly, s/he understands that the classification into teams is just for the purpose of the game. Your child should not translate that into enmities off the field.

  1. Let them fight their own battles

Some parents curtail their child’s creative potential by bribing the principal to make the youngster in charge of student council and fighting with the coach for scolding the student. They should instead ask their kid “What did you do to annoy the coach?”.



Ali Abbas | 3 years ago | Reply Its a pretty good article and a very important one too. Parents unknowingly put undue pressure on their kids by enforcing their own criteria for success upon them. They should let them choose their own life and just guide them in basing their success on the points mentioned in this article i.e. humility, sportsmanship, taking defeat in their stride and most importantly, perseverance!
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