Importance of letting kids know what it’s like to fail

Importance of letting kids know what it’s like to fail

By KORAL DASGUPTA | | 4 June, 2016
We have considerably reduced our parenting vision to the level where the visible success of our children declares our success as parents.
Failure is forbidden in today’s society, especially so when it comes to the younger generations. But do we realise that by foisting the credo of success on our kids, we may be harming them?
winning or participating? What should be a more important goal for children?

Apparently, this question would have a more ideologically obvious response. But do we really practice what we preach? Have we been able to give our children that free run where they participate in activities to learn the rules of the game, and sportsmanship and team spirit? End of the day, often knowingly or unknowingly, we end up expecting that our kids win the deal. We pressurise them before the event. Once over, we point out their carelessness and tell them how silly they have been with themselves to let others run ahead.

The message that transpires from this attitude may not be as simple as it should be. The kids feel that they have let themselves and their parents down. Parents being closest to their heart at a tender age, they want to undo the damage. They try to find that assurance from their parents again. If motivated appropriately, they resort to hard work. If not, and especially if they lack talent in a particular space, they end up trying other means which might not always be honest.

Fear for failure is nothing but risk aversion. In business, a common rule of thumb says, low risks low gain. The same applies to our children. Failure-phobia and the resultant risk aversion only make our children conservative. That reflects later in their personality, when they grow increasingly shut off from new experiences, reluctant to strike cross-cultural friendships or adapt to a foreign environment.

These days we battle a lot of social and personal evils. From corruption to frauds to unfair practices, ethics seems to have stooped to an unpardonable low. I had been wondering, what is it that makes us so brutal that we can go to any levels to scoop a score of success? Has something fundamentally gone wrong with our personality and upbringing?

All of us have faced moments when we didn’t raise our hands to interrupt a classroom lecture and clarify our doubts, fearing that we will be laughed at or judged by our peers for not knowing something simple. We have lived with an impaired learning which has harmed only us, in the long run. Or maybe, we have participated in races or competitions but didn’t score the best results. We let the disappointment pass with a pinch of salt.

These are some typical situations from which we must save our children. Today, when exposure is abnormally high, the effects are also not restricted only to the mind of the beholder. It has a cumulative reaction affecting people and their lives in a much broader way. That is where parenting can come across to offer a solution to make things easy.

How important is it to let our children fail? Let’s explore.

Fear for failure is nothing but risk aversion. In business, a common rule of thumb says, low risks low gain. The same applies to our children. Failure-phobia and the resultant risk aversion only make our children conservative. That reflects later in their personality, when they grow increasingly shut off from new experiences, reluctant to strike cross-cultural friendships or adapt to a foreign environment. While failure brings disappointments, it equally harps in to assure that no one is a super human who is just meant to win. It assures, right from the beginning, that success comes for a price and failure is only a part of life. By being risk averse in this context, we parents end up misleading them and refuse to hand-hold them when they need it most. Later in life when they have to face bigger hurdles, they end up feeling isolated, unable to find the support anywhere since they are already grown up and aren’t in control of their parents any longer.

So are we ready to push our children in that zone of helplessness?

We have considerably reduced our parenting vision to the level where the visible success of our children declares our success as parents. This is the most unfortunate impairment in parental psychologies. Are we as parents ready to invest that time and energy, to let our kids participate and fail till they find out that calling where they can win? Are we ready to accept that our child isn’t a so-called genius? Are we happy if their mediocrity shines through logic and inner strength with which they conduct themselves in all fairness? Shouldn’t we be content if our children are happy and at peace, even if they are not a potential Nobel Prize winner?

Maybe our kids deserve this reassurance and support!

 

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