Thursday, April 15, 2010

Teaching failure to children

Children in Jerusalem.Image via Wikipedia
By Dr James Dobson

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

It’s not news to anyone that youngsters mimic the behaviour of their parents. And since parents are being watched, they obviously need to be careful about what their children see. 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 are we able to say to our kids: “I’m sorry — I really blew it this time.”

If we miss out on something that 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 their shortcomings, and that the world won’t end because they did.

Some of the greatest times of growth between parents and children can occur when youngsters see Mum and Dad not get what they’re going after, and still feel all right 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.

From TODAY, Voices - Wednesday, 31-March-2010
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