January 20, 2020

Letting your kids fail occasionally can teach them resilience

Guest post from therapist Sarah Bradshaw.

I had a parent call me monthly about her student.  She would call anytime he was close to failing and would ask how can we prevent him from failing.  She also told me that she emails his teacher almost weekly, and couldn’t understand why she hadn’t heard anything back.  I listened empathetically to her talk then asked, "What is the harm in failing?"  I think that was the first time she didn’t have anything to say because she never thought about failing as an option.  It's painful to see your kids struggle. Rescuing your kids is a completely normal impulse, but there are times when it might be unhelpful to your kids. 



Failure can teach your kid resilence


Grades are an important part of school.  How else do teachers measure a student’s progress? But,  grades are not the only point of going of going to school. School is a good time for your child to learn about resilience, hard work, how to change habits that aren't working, and how to successfully communicate.

Every struggle give you the opportunity for teachable moments


The way you react to your student's failure , can be the difference between helping them learn these skills for themselves,  or teaching them to be dependent on others. What do you do when your kids fail?  Do you get mad, get a tutor, call the teacher, or ground them?  

It’s ok to let your student fail.  How else are they going to learn?  How are they going to learn to ask questions and get help for themselves?  How are they going to self-advocate? 

You can still be there for them when they do fail.  

How to be supportive when your kids are struggling


Here are a few ways to be supportive when they fail: 

  • Help them with their homework when they do have questions or don’t understand (don’t do it for them), 
  • Be an assistant on projects or buy supplies (don’t do it for them), 
  • Ask them questions or help write practice questions for quizzes and/or tests, 
  • Make your student talk to the teacher when they don’t get something right (they are the ones sitting in class, not you), 
  • Make arraignments for after school (if needed) so your student can attend tutorials.   


And remember to give them a hug and tell them you still love them.  Failure is an option, and it’s part of growing up.


Get professional help


If your child is struggling emotionally or academically, or if you are struggling with the stress of parenting, counseling can help. Contact one of our Houston, Texas Counseling therapists today to schedule an appointment. You can reach us at 713 - 591- 3612 or via email at Nancy @ wilson counseling. org. This blog is not intended to substitute for professional counseling. 


About the Author:

Sarah is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified School Counselor. Sometimes our path in life is not always simple and straight forward.  We may face challenges we never saw coming or don’t have the proper skills to tackle.  Sarah’s goal is to assist you through your journey and help provide you with the skills you need. Find out more about Sarah and the rest of our Wilson Counseling therapists in Houston, TX at our website.

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