Encouraging your kids in the face of failure, while counter intuitive, yields amazing results.
Just like we hate failing, so do our kids. In my time with 3,000 children, there was not a single kid who set out to fail and none that desired to keep failing. Our kids are not even aware that their failure is a good thing. In coaching adolescents, I find that our kids internalize their failures leading them to draw negative conclusions about themselves because they are not being taught how to handle their failure.
This negativity impacts them the next time they face an obstacle. Given repeated negative experiences with failure, they begin to forecast that they will fail. When this occurs they may avoid trying new or difficult things, give up when things get hard or worse yet, stop making an effort because it will be worse if they actually try and fail again.
This is why guiding with encouragement is so important when our kids fail.
This week a mom called me, from a family that has been changing the way they approach their kids based upon Revive Family’s Secrets of Influential Parenting series. This is the story she told me.
“After a game her son got a slushy, climbed into the car and spilled the entire drink on the seat and floor of the car. In the past, they would have become upset, made him clean it up and taken something away from him for his careless behavior.“
Applying Encouragement When Failure Arises
This time she and her husband did not get upset. In spite of this their nine-year-old son forecast their negative response and began a meltdown, as if they had come down on him. This time, instead of coming down on him she said, “It’s OK, we all make mistakes. Let’s work together as a team to clean this up.” After some coaxing he came out of his meltdown, and they cleaned the drink up together. In that process she said, that their son said this about himself, “I am so awkward.” Revealing one of his negative beliefs about himself, which they would have never heard had they come down on him.
They came to find out that the sense of being awkward impacted their son at school, with friends and in with sports teams. His belief that he is awkward causes him to compensate when out of his home. In trying so hard to not be awkward, it is leading to some of the very things that leave him on the outside looking in. Now that he has revealed this belief they have a window into his world and can begin helping him address it.
Parents believing in their Son
After the drink was cleaned up he wanted another drink. Instead of babying him like in the past, she suggested to her nine-year old that he go into the store, tell them what happened and see if they would refill it. He did and came back out with a full cup, feeling more believed in, responsible and capable! A far cry from where their son would have been on the car ride home if they had come down on him, like in the past.
The great saying “if at first you do not succeed, try it again,” resonates with me because it is so important for us as parents to come a long side our kid to let them know it’s okay and guide them with the next step. Everyone hates failure. I find it is the people who meet other’s failure with a sense of humor, encouragement and caring advice that are heard, gain respect and produce more effort than those who are down on them going forward!
Begin encouraging your kids when there’s failure and see them bloom! Our Kids learn more from their failures than their success, if encouraged to do so!
Would you like to take the steps to help your kids to thrive even more?
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