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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Fear of Failure in Children - Overcoming the Most Common Problem of Life

By Andrew Loh

Fear of  failure among many school going children could be a serious issue for their parents. Of late, this sensitive issue is reaching dangerous proportions too. Fear of failure could result in acute anxiety and panic just before taking a class test or perform in a school recital or even participate in a sport event. Children who undergo a spell of fear could fail to perform well in their classroom tests or show bad performance in a sport event. Consistent failures may also result in your children not taking any risks, thereby failing to achieve the desired results.

Fear of failure is very common among different children. Fear could be a two edged sword. To some extent, fear is an essential part of life; in fact, fear could act like a catalyst to urge us to achieve some useful goals in life. Fear could also act as a strong tool to counter all those invisible obstacles that actually cause failure. We can easily pinpoint all those errors, mistakes and blunders that resulted in failures. Failures can connect different consequences with various actions that eventually help gain ownership for the efforts.

Failure teaches many useful things to children. It can teach an array of life skills like patience, determination, motivation, vision, decision making, perseverance and more importantly problem solving. Repeated episodes of failure can result in utter frustration and disappointment among our children. However, repeated failure will also help children learn respond positively to any crisis.

Defining failure is very challenging and a tough task. You may need to encourage your children to value the basic concept of fear rather than fear it. Here are some basic facts about fear.

  • Failure is not in consonance with its possible causes. Children will need to take responsibilities for their actions. Otherwise, they may experience repeated failures.

  • Success may not relate to popularity. Rather, it is a personal achievement. Longing for popularity may work negatively and result in future failures.

  • Failure occurs when children do not give their best efforts. Failures also result because of wrong decisions and untimely efforts. In fact, children may not do something that is of immense interest to them.

  • When children seek an easy way out to achieve success, they may experience possible failures. Peer pressure is yet another reason for failure. When children act in a way that hurts their interests, failures become a certainty.

  • When children become self-centered and selfish, they may experience repeated failures. When children treat others poorly, they may taste failure from time to time.

Giving a proper definition for failure will help many parents wean away the fear that results in failure. Children should understand that failure is an important stepping-stone for future success. Many a time, children may never participate in any activities, classroom or otherwise, even though they are capable of achieving the best results. This could be due to the fear of failure that lingers in the mind of children. The very thought of fearing failure could break the confidence in the minds of children. Hence, the most important responsibility for parents is to drag their children from the clutches of failure.

The main reason for fear of failure is peer pressure. If children perceive that they are weak, unpopular and poor, they may experience possible failure. The stigma of failure could be very damaging to children. It can wreck children's confidence, reduce levels of motivation and eventually cause a dilution in self-esteem.

Popular belief and culture consider failure as someone being poor, dejected, rejected, powerless, unpopular or even weak personality. In many cases, children who fail in their classroom tests and sports events will eventually become victims of ridicule and bullying. Often, failure gets a demonized tag of incompetence and uselessness that eventually translate into notion of loosing all the goodness of life.

Parents may need to teach their children to treat failure is just another part of their life. They should also train them to face all possible consequences of failure. Children who agree and believe that occasional failures are common events in their lives, can develop the much needed confidence and encouragement to dispel fear of failure and taste future success. Success and failures are the two sides of same coin. They are inter-changeable too. Repeated or consistent failure may work as invaluable and painful lessons in your children's life. Learning or mastering how to cope with them will eventually help your children drive away excessive fear from their minds. Continue to read Helping Children Overcome Fear of Failure - Practical Tips and Suggestions


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