Failure the Foundation for Success

Contributed by JC Boushh

Every parent wants to provide a better future for their children, and provide them with things they never had as a child, but is this truly beneficial for healthy child development? We all want our children to be successful adults, and the key to raising children into healthy adults is allowing them to experience failure.

“There is in these studies a lesson for all parents. Those who allow their kids to find a way to deal with life’s day-to-day stresses by themselves are helping them develop resilience and coping strategies. ‘Children need to be gently encouraged to take risks and learn that nothing terrible happens,’ says Michael Liebowitz, clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and head of the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at New York State Psychiatric Institute.

Failure allows children to test their limits, be creative and imaginative to solve problems, and provides them with opportunities for learning and correcting mistakes. Unfortunately many times we do not allow children the opportunity to experience failure. We sue if our child does not make the cheerleader tryouts, we berate the coach who does not allow our child enough playing time because frankly he needs improvement, and we attack the teacher for disciplining our child when they are wrong. This mindset by so many parents has created a world where students are empowered with an attitude of “entitlement”. You owe me my education, you owe me material items, and you owe me a good six salary job. Forget about the sleepless nights spent studying for my education, or working hard at multiple jobs to gets what we want, and forget about really trying to give 100% at my job to move forward in the company. These are all the mindsets we are teaching our children when we do not allow them to experience failure.

“‘Life is not always fair.’ … ‘You don’t get what you want. Things like this are learned on the playground.’” Tom Reed, professor of early childhood education at the University of South Carolina Upstate. The next time our child falls down the best thing we can do is take a step back, encourage them to get up, and allow them to try again till they succeed with us supporting them on the sidelines. The hardest thing for a parent is to let their child grow up.