As parents, it is natural to want to see children succeed, glancing over failure with encouragement is not necessarily the best lesson. Children need to know and understand that, according to the experts, failure is a necessary component of success (NOT the opposite). Here are five ways to teach children that failure is not necessarily a bad thing.

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According to Resilience expert Rachel Simmons she encourages parents to, “Think about your biggest mistakes….They probably taught you more courage, strength, and wisdom than any success could have.”


So, instead of letting children have a fear of failure, teach them to see it as a learning opportunity. And, add these to your parenting toolbox.

1. Focus on Growth Mindset

Encourage kids to develop a healthy growth mindset. Children with a growth mindset look at failure differently than those with a fixed mindset. A child that has a growth mindset looks at failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. They turn the negative of failure into a positive.

2. Don’t try and stop failure, let it happen

Do not think that you are a bad parent for letting your child fail and not intervening. It is the complete opposite, you are a good parent if you let failure happen.

The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed” by Jessica Lahey details the consequences of parents not letting children fail. She says challenging experiences are the only way that we develop certain coping and problem-solving skills. If we shield children from adversity, key brain connections cannot develop.

3. Embrace (and Celebrate) Failure

Let kids know that “fail” simply means, first attempt in learning, so embrace it. If they fail, let them know to simply try again. There is not limit on how many times we attempt something. Celebrate their effort. Remember that children’s book, “The Little Engine That Could”? Invest in a copy, and have your child, of any age read it. The message is extremely clear!

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4. Encourage kids to “fail forward”

Originally used as a concept in the business world, “failing forward” simply means learning from your errors.

So, if your child fails at something, to help them “fail forward,” ask questions such as “What did you learn from this?” or “What would you do differently next time?” These questions will shift the focus onto the positive aspects of the failure.

5. Practice the “RAIN” technique

The “RAIN” technique was created by Michelle McDonald, as a simple way for kids to notice and accept their feelings.

  • R-Recognize what is happening- How am I feeling in this moment?
  • A-Allow life to be just as it is- Thoughts and feelings can just “be”.
  • I-Investigate with kindness- Why do I feel this way?
  • N-Non-Identification- I am having a thought or emotion but I am not that thought or emotion.
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If you are on the fence about allowing your child to fail, remember, not doing so will hinder them in the long-run. It may seem like a blow to being parent-of-the-year, but it is not. On the contrary, properly teaching your child  that failure is not necessarily a bad thing will actually get you the accolades that you deserve.

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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