Tips to Help Your Children Overcome Failure

Failing at something is inevitable in life. Children experience successes and failures with great intensity. What can parents do to help them overcome failure?
Tips to Help Your Children Overcome Failure

Last update: 08 October, 2018

There are key actions you can take to help your children handle disappointment in a healthy way. Put these tips in place to help your children overcome failure and setbacks.

Children can feel very frustrated when they don’t achieve a goal, because they invest all of their energy and emotion into what they’re doing.

In these situations, parental support is indispensable. Children will turn to the nearest source of protection to alleviate their anger and disappointment.

Adults are also affected by misfortunes in their personal projects. We know the feeling of failure, so it’s not uncommon to believe that it will be easy to help our children overcome these events too.

When children are taught that failure is an opportunity for growth and learning, they’ll be healthier adults who don’t fear being wrong.

Tips to help children overcome failure

Parents as an example

Since the day they’re born, children admire their parents. Parents are their source of support and comfort in the face of any situation or need.

Children learn phrases, behaviors and habits through constant observation of their parents.

The behavior that an adult adopts in the face of a disappointing or frustrating situation is likely to be the same behavior that their children display when they encounter a similar feeling in their lives.

If parents handle failure with a good attitude, taking away key points that promote confidence and encourage improvement, they will know how to help their children take advantage of their mistakes too.

Tips to Help Your Children Overcome Failure

Increase self-confidence

To contribute to your children’s self-esteem, identify the activities they’re most successful in and encourage them to participate in these activities more often.

Feeling confident in mastering a task and being successful in it encourages children to take on new challenges and reduces their anxiety over failure.

Their self-determination will be strengthened, and in those scenarios where they don’t feel comfortable, they’ll proceed with caution until they get the best possible result.

Whatever the outcome, parents’ positive reinforcement is important for increasing children’s self-esteem.

Recognizing the work they’ve done helps children understand that success requires preparation and effort.

A strong sense of self-esteem is definitely one of the most important keys to overcoming failure.

“The life of a man is interesting mainly if he has failed. That indicates that he tried to improve himself.”

–Georges Clemenceau–

Normalize failure

Having setbacks in life is inevitable. Knowing how to deal with them is what’s really important. 

For children, failing in a very small project produces such indignation that their self-esteem plummets.

Parents should help their children understand that it’s normal to make mistakes and to fail sometimes. The important thing is to overcome it.

When little ones understand that we’ve all experienced failure and that we continue to move forward nonetheless, it helps them normalize the experience and overcome each failure faster than the one before.

Supportive phrases such as “you’ll do better next time” and “we all make mistakes” help children understand that a setback isn’t the end of the world and that they’re completely capable of overcoming it.

Learn from every mistake

The precuneus is an area of the brain where the positive or negative results of our experiences are stored. Neurologically speaking, every past situation contributes to our efficiency when it comes to taking on tasks.

In the brain’s record of experiences, we have a large quantity of data, so when we face a new challenge, the brain makes a quick search in that database.

It mainly looks for which actions produced results and which did not. Based on this information, the brain finds the most effective tactic applied to a similar situation.

Tips to Help Your Children Overcome Failure

When children face a challenge and remember that a certain action they took in the past didn’t work, then they’ve effectively learned from their mistake.

Recognizing which attitudes and behaviors weren’t the most appropriate helps children see a need to create alternatives in the future.

Parents should reinforce the idea that we need to learn from our experiences, no matter how small. They should help children reflect through questions like, “What do you think you did wrong? Would you do the same thing again? What would you change if it happened again?”

These tips to help children overcome failure will become their allies in battle, helping them grow confident and able to take on any challenge.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Orgilés, M., Espada, J. P., Méndez, X., & García-Fernández, J. M. (2008). Miedos escolares en hijos de padres divorciados y no divorciados. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 8(3), 693-703.
  • Valiente, R. M., Sandín, B., & Chorot, P. (2002). Miedos comunes en niños y adolescentes: Relación con la sensibilidad a la ansiedad, el rasgo de ansiedad, la afectividad negativa y la depresión. Revista de psicopatología y Psicología clínica, 7(1), 61-70.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.