How to help your kids fail

3 things we learned on ParentsCanada Talk Radio this week.

Why is “failure” such a bad word?

After all, failure is a critically important way that we learn how to succeed. Whether it’s the importance resilience or deconstructing what went wrong, understanding, accepting and embracing failure is one of the most important tools we have in our parenting toolbox.

With that in mind, here’s three great things we learned about failure on this week’s show:

Failure helps us grow when you build an environment where we’re allowed to fail.
Think of a toddler learning to walk. That little one learns balance, momentum and stability by tumbling over and over again. If we told a child to give up on walking after the first (or 100th) attempt at walking, they’d be crawling around into adulthood.

Now, apply that analogy to the way many parents look at failure today. When you use negative emotion to embarrass your child for failing, what you’re really telling them is that failure isn’t an acceptable option. In adulthood that can paralyze a person, make them risk averse, or increase anxiety.

Ask “why?”
Failing is one thing – but failing with purpose is what’s most important. When something does go wrong, take the time afterward to understand what went wrong and why it went wrong. Understanding this is where learning and growth can truly occur. Don’t look at a “C” on a report card as the ending point of the conversation, but as the starting point. It’s the opportunity to ask “why” and reveal the behaviours you can help your kids develop to succeed. 

There is a psychological basis for all of this.
Our guest Adrian Kremblewski – from The Parent Map – got inside the brain to help show what failing well can do. For one, it helps create the neural pathways that make us better at learning more and more effectively. Failure can also develop our beliefs, element’s that drive our decision-making throughout our lives. Since 95% of what’s happening in your day is happening subconsciously, these skils are vital.

In a way, we need to re-brand “failure” to help demonstrate it as a good thing. Maybe the concept of “growth” is a better place to start. 

How to help your kids failHow to help your kids failListen to this week’s episode here. Learn more! Join us every Wednesday from 11am-noon for ParentsCanada Talk Radio on NewsTalk Sauga 960.

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