Tuesday, September 02, 2008


From TODAY, Voices
Monday September 1, 2008

By Dr James Dobson

One of the best ways to show your children how to succeed may be to teach them how to fail.

It’s not news that youngsters mimic the behaviour of their parents. And since parents are being watched, they obviously need to be careful about what they say and do around their children. This is especially true when it comes to handling failure and disappointment.

Do we set ourselves up as models of perfection that never fall short of our goals? Or, can we say to our kids: “I’m sorry – I really blew it this time”?

If we fail to get something we really wanted – say, a new job – do we mask our feelings by offering phony excuses, or do we simply say: “Apparently, the bosses thought Mr Lim would be better suited for the job.” Our children must see that mum and dad can admit their failure and shortcomings, and that the world will not end because they have done so.

Some of the best moments in the relationship between parents and children can be when children see that their mum or dad did not get what they want and still feel alright about themselves and each other. It tells them that winning isn’t always normal or possible, and that even when you fail, life goes on. Teaching our kids to win and succeed is a noble thing. But teaching them to handle frustration and failure may be just as important.
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