Ok--not THAT one. The "other" F-word! Failure.
Studies show that letting your kids fail can be a "stepping stone" to triumph. Many now-famous people started off as "failures." Bill Gates' first venture (Traf-O-Data) was a bust; Oprah Winfrey was fired from a job as a reporter being told she was "not fit for TV;" Walt Disney was let go from a newspaper job when the editor told him that he "lacked creativity"!! Really!?!
These examples demonstrate the ability of "superstars" to move beyond rejection and continue to persevere. So, at what age do we start? It may be difficult but kids need to learn to accept their failures and move on . As a mom, I know it's hard. I've prayed that my child doesn't botch her karate test, that she gets the part in that school play, or that her piano recital goes smoothly. However, we know that is not always the case. In fact, it's more likely that school-aged children will drop the ball rather than perform effortlessly. Experts are saying there is nothing wrong with that!
We want to protect our kids, no doubt, but child psychologist Rahil Briggs, Psy.D. reminds us of what we can learn from moving beyond failure. "You learn how to tolerate frustration, how to get creative and take different approaches to tasks, and also how to ask for help--all things that are necessary for long-term success." We can recognize that this statement is true, so why, as parents, do so many of us try to eliminate failure from our kids' lives?
Ashley Merryman (co-author of NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children) says it's because we hold this notion that our kids are fragile--and that any bad outcome could harm their developing self-esteem. She continues to discuss in her book that science actually disproves that: "achievement builds self-esteem... Those Little League strikeouts and botched spelling tests aren't all bad."
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Blog post by Emily Oppelt, Genius Heads