Let’s be honest. How many of you see the “amazing performance” of your child as a sign of “good parenting”?
I suspect most of us do.
Unfortunately, that is where the danger lies, because the “F” word is seen as “bad parenting”.
F as in FAILURE.
When our children go to school without finished homework or they have so many mistakes in their English assignment. When they give in a project which is falling apart, get a D for their spelling test or simply have accidents like falling of their bikes.
We are seen as “bad parents”, so we do everything to change that judgment.
Such a mindset sabotages our children’s ability to really succeed in life.
How do we then prepare and equip them with the best mindset for success?
Here are 10 ways parents can help children get comfortable with the F word hence building resilience which is the key to success.
1. DO REDEFNE SUCCESS
The most popular definition of success we come across in the dictionary is…
“the accomplishment of goals and attainment of wealth, position, honors.”
This definition may be true, but seems to forget one very important factor…
Behind every SUCCESS is a line of FAILURES and every FAILURE has a straight line towards SUCCESS.
Based on the biography of the most successful people, children must be brought to understand that failure and success are inseparable.
The truth about success must be embedded in their hearts so when they encounter difficulties, they understand it is part of the process towards achieving their goal even if it is as simple as learning how to tie shoelaces.
2. DO CELEBRATE
Create a tradition of “celebrating” failure with your children. If your child comes home feeling totally resigned because he/she didn’t pass the Math’s test, didn’t make it to the school’s dance group or lost his bicycle in the park, the last thing you want to do is get angry and scream.
The best thing is ask about the HOWs instead of the WHYs.
“How did it happen?
“What lessons have you learnt from this situation?”
The answers are pretty honest…
“I have to spend more time practicing my timetables.”
“I should take my dance lessons more seriously.”
“I mustn’t leave my toys in the park unattended to.”
WONDERFUL! A lesson has been learnt, a stepping stone forward has been made.
Your child is an experience wiser!
THAT CALLS FOR A CELEBRATION!
Bake your child his/her favourite chocolate cake, take a walk in the park with the whole family or simply watch a nice family movie under the covers with some hot chocolate (keep it simple though).
Your child must know there is value in failure.
3. DO GIVE RESPONSIBILITY
So your child forgets to take his swimming kit to school because you didn’t put it in his/her bag.
He/she goes to school with unfinished assignments and has to face the consequences.
He/she comes home to a messy room because it hasn’t been cleaned.
Taking it upon yourself to organize your child’s life just to avoid undesired consequences does more harm than good.
You prevent your child from experiencing setbacks hence the opportunity to learn from his/her mistakes.
When children take responsibility for their actions, they automatically take responsibility for their success. They learn and grow through failure.
4. DO MODEL THE ROLE
Our children learn from observation and copy the way we deal with everyday adherences.
Take into consideration how you react when you break a plate, burn the food or how you express your emotions after a tough day at work.
Is it the same way you would like your child to react?
If you want your child to manage his/her emotions and reactions, you must manage yours first!
They look up to you, so be the model…the role-model.
5. DO PRAISE THE EFFORT NOT THE OUTCOME
Have you ever noticed how much effort and enthusiasm goes into the a child’s work but still doesn’t get desired results?
Praising the process in which your child achieved or didn’t achieve something is very encouraging and demonstrates the importance of the journey rather than the destination.
When your child realizes it is the effort that counts, failure is no longer feared.
6. DO TALIOR THE TASK
It is fundamental to be aware that children develop at different stages and ages. Some start to speak at 2, others at 3. Some aren’t physically mature to hold a pencil correctly at the ages of 3-4, yet the curriculum requires they start writing, and of a certain standard. This leads to an avalanche of emotions such as low self-esteem, resignation and lack of enthusiasm.
As parents we must avoid bombarding our children with expectations they aren’t physically, mentally or emotionally ready for.
7. DO PREDICT & DISCUSS
Encourage your child to try new things.
“What is the worst thing that could happen?”
Answering this question gets your child comfortable with confronting his/her fear.
If it’s not going to kill you or physically harm you, there is every reason to try and every reason to face your fear!
Before that big class test, audition, football game or any other challenge, together predict the possible outcomes and discuss the appropriate reactions…
“If I make it into the school’s football team, I will take that responsibility seriously and make sure I stay committed.”
“If I don’t make it, that’s not the end of the world. If I really want it, I will practice more and come back much better prepared next time.”
“If I don’t pass the test, it means there is more I can learn. I Will take the test again next week and will be better prepared.”
Creating a growth mindset is something your child will benefit from in the future.
8. DO GIVE UNINTERRUPTED FREE PLAY TIME
The lion cubs are left to play freely, learn how to hunt by surprising their prey and how to win or lose a fight during their wrestling games. It is said that the bear cubs that play the most are the ones that survived the best.
This applies to our children.
They must be left to play freely without any particular structure or interruption. Negotiation skills are picked up, relationships are built, learning takes place naturally and children see that sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
9. DO WATCH AND READ INSPIRATIONAL VIDEOS AND BOOKS
Children learn a lot from what they see and hear. Using this ability to their advantage can help them cope with adherences and see failure as an element towards success. Films such as MULAN, ANNIE, STAND BY ME, LORENZO’S OIL, demonstrate resilience, grit and compassion.
Watching such films together gives a firm talking point about perseverance and a reference to how failure and setbacks can be dealt with, how personal growth takes place through experience and how to change a disadvantage into an advantage. These are essential life skills are children need to be equipped with.
10. DO LOVE AND ACCEPT
As obvious as it may seem, this may be one of the most important things you can do. Shower your child with love every day. Even when you yell, lose your cool, ignore or simply make any other parental mistake, always end it with a hug, a kiss and “’I am sorry.”
When your child feels loved and accepted, it is easier to get through hard times, he/she won’t be embarrassed to ask for help and will confide in you. Always knowing he/she has a shoulder to lean on builds confidence and resilience.
Teaching your child to feel comfortable with failure doesn’t mean you encourage it and not always intervening but allowing setbacks to happen naturally, doesn’t make you a “bad parent”.
There is beauty in failure because there is growth.
Our job as parents is to walk with our children through their failure, giving your unconditional love and assurance that with the right attitude, all will be well and it’s definitely not the end of the world!
WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU MAKES YOU STRONGER AND WISER.