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


Teaching Children How to Convert Failure into Success - Simple Tips and Suggestions

By Andrew Loh

Fear can be a potentially strong tool to succeed in life. When you teach children how to use fear as a tool to succeed in life, they will learn many other things in life too. Parents hate to see their children fail either in classrooms or in sports. They want their children to succeed in every task they undertake. Some of the most painful moments while parents are nurturing their children are from frustratingly watching their children fail in a class test or miss the selection for classroom soccer team. Alternatively, parents may also hate to see their children fail to make good friends in their school.

However, failure is not the end in life. In fact, it the next step to success. When utilized properly, failure could mean definite success in the next attempt. Failure, by itself, is a learning experience that can train your children to achieve success in future. When children fail one time, they will learn from their mistakes and perform better in the next attempt. Here are some simple tips and suggestions that will help you train your children to face a reality called “failure”.

Be a good guide and mentor - Parents are children's best friends, philosophers, guides and mentors. In fact, children look forward for parental guidance for all the tasks they carry out. Make sure to devote 30 minutes to sit with your children to talk to them and know their problems. A listening mind is far better than a unresponsive one. Children like to talk to their parents about their problems. Know the exact cause of failure that is leading children to perform poorly in classroom. There could be several reasons and causes.

Motivate them and urge them to develop self-confidence - Children, who fail, often have very poor internal motivation. This lack of motivation actually prevents them from trying out any tasks or challenges. Once they are motivated internally, you can expect them drive away the sense of failure from their mind. Here are some important keywords to motivate your children:

  • ...“You can do it!

  • ...“You are capable of doing it!

  • ...“It is easy for you

  • ...“You can try this one out!

  • ...“You can win!

Explain children why fear is a great tool to achieve success in the future - You can explain your children why fear is not permanent and in what manner they can drive away fear from their mind. Give examples of great personalities of the past who failed repeatedly in their life to arrive at a great invention or discovery. Thomas Alva Edison and Marconi are two of the best examples for failures. Explain them how they can learn from their mistakes, failure experiences and use them effectively to taste success in all future attempts.

Help control emotions and trauma that might occur because of failure - Many children might face trauma and negative emotions because of successive failures. Parents should help their children during such times of crises. At times, children may develop what is known as “fear of failure” which is an extreme psychological condition that prevents children from trying any tasks or challenges.

Note down instances of failure and devise strategies to convert them into success in the next attempt - You may need to help children in recording instances of failures experienced in the near past. This simple strategy helps you devising strategies and plans that can be used next time when children try out a new task. For example:

Let us say that your child fails in a classroom test and does not get good marks. There should be one or many reasons for the failure. Some of the reasons could be as follows:

  • May be the child did not study properly.

  • May be he or she studied well but failed to write good answers to questions.

  • It is possible that the child is fearing the classroom test itself.

The first two problems are easy to solve. You may just need to see that the child studies hard for the next test and write down answers for many questions in a home-made-mock-test. Some children use this technique to score well in the next test while many others may need some more time to show a good performance. However, the last reason might need a bit of extra effort. If the reason is due to panic and anxiety, your child needs training in developing self-confidence, positive mind and internal motivation. Just sit down with the child and motivate them every day to improve performance. If you fail to motivate them, then you can consult a child academician or a counselor to find a workable strategy.

Help children know what is success and failure and learn to distinguish main differences between them - First, children should know the basic definitions for success and failure. Once they know all the essential differences between success and failure, they would learn how to devise newer and workable strategies that can help them succeed in life. They should also know that failure is not permanent, while success is not the end itself. Success begets satisfaction and a sense of achievement. In other words, children should learn and understand that success is just a tool to develop further motivation to achieve best things in life.

Featured Resource

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
By Paul Tough

How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. Through their stories - and the stories of the children they are trying to help - Tough traces the links between childhood stress and life success. He uncovers the surprising ways in which parents do, and do not, prepare their children for adulthood.

This provocative and profoundly hopeful book has the potential to change how we raise our children, how we run our schools, and how we construct our social safety net. It will not only inspire and engage readers and it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.


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