Helping Children Manage Failure Positively

The word FAIL has been the acronym to ‘First Attempt In Learning’. This means the possibility of not getting things right the very first time is guaranteed. Let’s start from the very first time a baby latch on the breast. Most mothers have mentioned it took some adjusting for both them and the baby. Moving on to a toddlers’ first step, sitting up or trying a new food taste. All these instances show failing is part of the human development and journey of life, but what makes the difference is how individually we deal with the challenge. I have seen parents given up on the first try at introducing new food to children while others have gone on to successes with the right support.

As children grow, they will fail in friendship, relationships, task, accomplishment, homework, class work, sports and different types of activities. However, we as parents should be there to provide the help and support needed during the situation. The first major exams my son wrote, was the first time he dealt with failure. He did not make the marks needed for certain schools. He cried so much as this was very upsetting for him. When asked why he felt this way he indicated he had let us his parents down and felt he did so well on the day of the exam. As parents what did we do to help him during this process?fail

  1. Reassured him that he did not let us down, thou we would have loved him to make the marks needed.
  2. Prepare himself better for the next exam. Asked him what he thought were his weakness during exam, we then gave him the tools and techniques needed to improve these weaknesses.
  3. Told him, it was not the end of the world. Thou that opportunity was gone, there are more opportunities to come.
  4. Help build back his confidence. Focused and reminded him of other accomplishments he had achieved.
  5. Tell him failing is part of life but not to get stuck in it. To move on or try again at the task.

In the 2015 Wimbledon and 2016 Australian women tennis tournament, Sirena Williams has shown an A star behaviour of managing failure. Although as of when these games were played, she was the number one world female tennis played. When she came the runner-up and failed to reach the first place for these tournaments, she dealt with it gracefully. This example shows we all deal with failure, but how we deal with it is what makes us different. Helping children have an understanding of failure contribute to their output in life and seeing it from a positive perspective.

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