Drug testing

Handling Failure -- Teaching Kids How to Profit From It

There is nothing pleasant about failure, at least not at the time that it happens! Failure embarrasses us, feels bad, and often costs us money. Little wonder that people avoid failure like the plague.

As parents, we unwittingly pass on the message to our kids that it is bad to go wrong or fail. Teachers punish pupils directly or indirectly, for making mistakes. Their peers never let them live it down. Friends and loved ones try to discourage us from venturing into the unknown, all for the fear of making mistakes and failing. In the final analysis, we have become a people who think we are "better safe than sorry." We become "once bitten, twice shy."

However, failure can be a blessing in disguise. Through it we can learn what doesn't work. Then we can find what does. Failure is a much better teacher than success. Success makes our heads swell; failure makes us stop, look and listen. If we add "Learn" to this sequence, then failure becomes the first step to success. Stop-Look-Listen-Learn; that's the way to profit from failure.

The role of failure is expressed in these words of wisdom:

I've missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I've lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. -Michael Jordan

Failure is an absolute pre-requisite for success. You learn to succeed by failing. -Brian Tracy

Being defeated is often a temporary condition. Giving up is what makes it permanent. -Marilyn Vos Savant

I am not judged by the number of times I fail, but by the number of times I succeed? and the number of times I succeed is in direct proportion to the number of times I can fail and keep on trying. -Tom Hopkins

If we give our kids the right perspective on failure, that it can be a spring board to success and not a hindrance, then we will prepare them to handle the real world out there, where nothing good comes easy. We will teach them to build realistic expectations ? that success does not come easy, that winning comes from losing and learning, that when we lose, we must learn from our losses, and you cannot get success without first failing.

Practical examples

Here are some "failure scenarios" and ways that we can teach our kids to learn from failure:

Scenario 1: He spills his food all over the floor.

Lesson: We show him where he went wrong (wasn't looking where he was going, ran instead of walked etc) and how to do it better next time to avoid the spill. We express confidence that he can do it properly in future and praise him when he does. Now he knows how to avoid the mistake, and has the self-confidence to keep on trying till he can do it right.

Scenario 2: She gets her sums wrong.

Lesson: We show her where she went wrong, and the right way to do them, as often as it takes her to get them right without help. We give her more sums to re-enforce the learning. We express confidence that she can get them right next time, and praise her when she does. This way, we provide an atmosphere where it is safe to keep on trying, because if she "fails" she will be helped and not ridiculed. She learns that it is OK to try and fail, because you can keep on trying till you succeed. And you will succeed, if you don't give up.

Scenario 3: He loses his job

Lesson: We analyze the situation together, identifying where he went wrong and what he could have done to achieve better results. We express confidence that he will get it right next time, and praise him when he does. The support he receives boosts his self-confidence. Self-confidence strengthens the resolve to keep on till you win.

Scenario 4: She gets pregnant

Lesson: We talk about the choices we make and having to bear the consequences. We discuss how this will affect her life. We may express disappointment, but also show her that we love her and are there for her. We discuss plans for the baby, and preventing a re-occurrence of this situation. Supporting her through this trying time tells her that she is valued by you, even though she has failed you. Show her that you expect her to make wiser choices in future, and that you believe that she can. This way you boost her self-esteem and strengthen her resolve to be more responsible in future.

While you may not agree with some of these recommendations, please note that the focus is on making a learning experience of the situation. It is important to teach children not to be afraid to make mistakes (though we do not plan to make them!). Rather, when failure does happen it's a sign that our strategies aren't working and it's time to make a change.

Adults all around the world spend huge sums of money on personal development seminars, trying to get rid of the fear of failure. But you can give your children an edge; give them those success lessons right now!

Failing does not make us failures. It is failing to learn from failure that undoes us. We must teach our kids that failure is the first part of success. The sooner you learn all the things that don't work, the sooner you learn what does. And that means success, by learning from failure and winning!

Copyright 2005 Oma Edoja

This article may be reproduced but only if left as is, with the writer's resource box below, accompanying it.

Oma Edoja is a published writer, motivational speaker and infopreneur. She works with adults and teens, helping them set goals, overcome obstacles and move forward. She is also a mother and former schoolteacher. Please visit Oma's motivational blog http://omaslounge.blogspot.com and her parenting blog http://theparentingmix.blogspot.com for more useful tips and resources.

In The News:

Archaeologists have unlocked the secrets of an amazing 1,500-year-old altar discovered at a Maya temple deep in the Guatemalan jungle.
Faculty at the University and Richmond are being credited for rescuing nearly 70,000 bees after a tornado Monday took down a tree near the school’s campus.
Talk about being crabby.
An enormous ice sheet is at risk of melting even if temperatures rise by just 2°C, potentially sparking major climate chaos.
A remarkable video shows thousands of bees swarming the entrance to a Walmart store in Texas.
NASA's newest planet-hunting mission has reported detecting its first alien world — a "super-Earth" that is likely evaporating under the heat from its star, a new study finds.
If it has inhabitants, it's a good bet they all "live long and prosper."
Archaeologists have discovered several ancient Egyptian mummies — including the remains of a remarkably well-preserved individual — in a tomb along the west bank of the Nile River, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities said in a statement released today (Sept. 18).
Scientists have discovered that the human eye has a spooky ability.
A lagoon in western Greece is starting to look more like an abandoned home's basement than a picturesque shoreline.

Ten Helpful Little Tips For New Parents

The Greatest Gifts in Life, which are always created for... Read More

School Issues: When Should an ADHD Child Be Held Back In School?

This can be a very complicated issue, so I don't... Read More

Guilty of Not Following Her Heart

Karen, a single never-married thirty-year old attorney has a four-year... Read More

Baptisms And Alternative Ways To Hold A Naming Ceremony

Traditionally, babies have been named at a christening/baptism.... Read More

Powerful Tips for Increasing Your Childs Self-Esteem

Here is a list of ways to convey the message... Read More

Is Your Behavioural Change Strategy Working?

'How can I start getting my children to help out... Read More

When Your Childs Adoption Story Changes: Nothing But the Facts or is It Nothing are the Facts?

Elana, born in Russia, was told "We really don't know... Read More

Beginning the Special Education Process

Like anything else in life, there's a method to the... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Driving and Having a Car is a Privilege, Not a Right

Q. My teenage son is turning 16 early next year... Read More

After the Driving School

If you visit search engines you can find several resources... Read More

Keeping the Stress out of Single Parenting

Researched through personal experience!Budget Your Money. Even if you are... Read More

Over-Focused ADHD

The least flexible character in all of the stories of... Read More

How Can I Teach My Child Respect?

A common theme over the past 20 years has been... Read More

Joining a Gang: How to Help Kids Prevent it, How to Tell if Theyve Joined One, How to Help Them Out

While youth gangs are nothing new -- they've been traced... Read More

Guide Your Kids! This 3-D Map Leads to Character

A tall, weary-looking mother with glasses, walked into my counseling... Read More

Whats in a Name?

My cousin boasts five names and I confess that when... Read More

The Great Baby Name Debate

Winifred or Willow? Thomas or Troy? The name you choose... Read More

Childhood Friendships

Childhood friendships are as special as they are a necessary... Read More

Vouchers --- Parents, Dont Depend On Them

Vouchers, which give tax money to parents to pay for... Read More

How to Deal with Your Child?s Inappropriate Behaviour

Children bombard parents with many challenging behaviours. We are delighted... Read More

How Illiteracy Can Ruin Your Childs Life

It may seem obvious to many people why literacy is... Read More

Teaching Your Child Safety

Q. What is the best way to teach safety awareness... Read More

Why Mother?s Day is Important For Children

Mother's Day is important for children.This Mother's Day take note... Read More

How To Entertain A Child While Working From A Home Office

There is no doubt that the benefits of being a... Read More

Childs Play: Treating The Insanity of the Mental Health System

In today's mental health system there is a pattern of... Read More

pedestrian street lighting street lighting columns Pete's produce ..