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Helping our Children See Failure as an Event, NOT Something They Are. by Gregory Bland

Mar 10th, 2011 | By | Category: Parenting

Consider what the average child feels after they experience failure.   Do they typically say, “I’m no good at _________.” Or, more often say, “I am no good at anything!”  Failure often produces powerful feelings within our children, which, if left unchecked, can negatively shape their self-perception.   When our children fail, and they will, parents have an opportunity to help them develop and maintain a healthier perspective on failure and who they are as individuals.

It is in these moments that we teach our children the difference between, a) failing at a task and BEING a failure as a person,  and b) our love rests upon who they are, not what they can or cannot do.

Teaching failure as a natural part of life and learning:

  • Communicate clearly and often that failure is a natural part of life and learning.
  • Avoid a negative over-reaction to their failures.
  • Consistently show that your love for them is unconditional and not based upon how well they ‘perform.’
  • Openly share about some of your own failures and the value these experiences have brought into your own life.
  • Help them reflect upon their experience and life in a way that encoruages and challenges their self-perception by asking something like,
    • “I am not sure I understand.  How does your failing at __________ make you a failure?”
    • “When I look at you, I don’t see a failure.  What I see is (name positive character qualities you have seen).”
    • “There are many things you’re good at.  Can you name a few?”
    • “What do you most appreciate/like about yourself?”
    • “What situations tend to bring out your best?”

By turning our children’s attention away from the ‘negative’ aspects of failure, toward who they are as an individual, emphasizes that failure is simply a natural event within their lives.

Until next time
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

*Gregory and Lynn Bland reside in Pleasantville, Nova Scotia, Canada and are actively coaching, writing a parenting book and developing a course to assist parents in learning the heart, skills and disciplines of Pro-ActiveParentCoaching.  Additionally they are providing interim pastoring for the Maritime District of the PAOC.  For more information check out Pro-ActiveParentCoaching or write to

Copyright 2011 Gregory Bland | Pro-ActiveParentCoaching | Nova Scotia | Canada |

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