Teaching “failure tolerance”

word of month character

When a child is learning to walk, we cheer their every attempt. Finally after many “failures” they gain a single step and then all of us cheer wildly. One day in a Tiger Tot class one of the siblings just about a year old took his first step. All the moms were cheering right in class. The young child takes all this in and keeps trying until finally walking is no big deal.
But sometimes as parents when the child is older we try to lessen the suffering of not reaching a goal or success. We might do it by taking the blame on our selves or by punishing the child hoping that he will learn not to make that mistake again. In the end when we make to big a deal about failures or mistakes, we are not helping them keep from making the same mistake again.
In fact what we may be doing is ensuring that the child may not want to risk again. They feel the need to cower and hide from opportunities that could, possibly, maybe, end up in a mistake. They may be afraid to explore their own dialogue. In fact they may end up being driven by external forces in making decisions about what is right for them to do. Once any of us look at the external forces for making a decision choosing what we are willing to risk, our confidence suffers.
We are now open to being swayed by whatever the latest fashion or trend is and not taking the time to ask ourselves, “What is the right thing to do,” “for me” not anyone else just me. As parents our responsibility is to let the child know how remarkable it was that they made the attempt and point out the good that came from it, including the the things they did well within their failed attempt.
We must be careful not to dwell on the mistake, but to celebrate the successes and move forward. Allow ourselves or our children to work out how to overcome the adversity.

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