Children need to learn the hard lessons of failure while they are still young. They need to understand that falling down is part of life and this will lead them to learn the power of resiliency. The strength that comes from building yourself back up after a hard fall. There are ways to encourage this understanding at a young age. It all falls back on the language that is used. The language and ways you communicate with your child have a lasting effect on their self-identity and internal voice. Reframing how you speak to your child about a failure or a missed opportunity plays an important role in their development.
Here are some ways to reshape the attitudes you have shown:
- Instead of focusing on winning at a sport or talent focus on the aspect of team building
- Before you ask your child what they are good at ask them what they enjoy practicing
- Praise your child for skills they find naturally and also openly praise them when they ask for help
- Teach your child that asking for help and understanding what you need from others is just as important
In creating this dialogue in the home you are showing your child that perfection is not something to strive however, it is the importance of hard work and determination that makes people succeed. In this way the child will understand it is not perfection the parents are yearning for but rather a more complex understanding of character building. You can then create a dialogue to teach things such as: positive outlook and problem solving skills. This will help the child become a well-rounded and help the child feel less anxious and stressed about performance.
Natasha Griffin is a Marriage and Family Therapist, Trainee. She is supervised by Danielle Fitch, LMFT #94672.