Why You Should Let Your Child Hold On To Failure

Originally Posted on Rebel Circus

I’ve stressed this so much but as parents, we never really know what we're doing and we just pray and hope that we are doing it well. We hope to raise our kids to be incredible people so we try our best with parenting. Some parents take on different parenting styles and end up overcompensating with their children, but the key to creating successful children is by letting them fail.


Not taking the risk. There are so many adults who avoid taking the next step in life because they are afraid of failure or because they believe that they won't achieve a specific goal. For example, a person may avoid applying to a specific school because they believe that they may not get in.

Not taking failure well. Aside from simply not taking the chance to do certain things, these same people also become extremely distraught when they receive critical feedback or fail at something.

Failure at a young age. At a young age, children tend to retain a lot more information. The adolescence is the perfect time for kids to learn how to do something. So teaching them about the ins and outs of failure at that age allows them to be more resilient when facing failure as an adult.

People who don't know how to fail. In a world where everyone is rewarded for just being on a team, kids aren't learning how to fail. So when they become adults they are expecting to become successful without failure or true hard work.

Failure deprived. "A faculty at Stanford and Harvard coined the term ‘failure deprived’ to describe what they were observing: the idea that, even as they were ever more outstanding on paper, students seemed unable to cope with simple struggles," said Jessica Bennett, a writer for the New York Times.

Increase with depression. The people that have a hard time accepting failure, tend to be the same people who suffer from depression. According to the American College Health Association, the idea of not confronting setbacks and failure has caused an increase in depression and anxiety within colleges.

Not normally the students’ fault. At first glance, we can easily get frustrated with these people who don't handle failure well but with more analyzation, we'll see that it's not their fault. It's the people who raised them faults.

Most parents don't do it intentionally. Genetically, we are created to not be okay with failure. And those who survived passed down their same genetic wiring to where generations later, people are afraid of failing. A way that parents unintentionally block their children from failure is by catching their kid every-time they're tumbling down or even doing things for them.

Coddling is too consistent. As a whole, we reframe the idea of failure with success. We give out trophies for participating, and generally everything is rewarded. Kids have no sense of what real achievement and success feels like.

An unfamiliar experience. Because failure is reframed as success, kids do not understand the process of failing or how to overcome failure. So when they grow up, they don't deal with failure at all and that onsets anxiety or depression.

Unprepared adults. These same coddled children turn into adults who are not prepared for adulthood. As most of us know, adulthood is 90% failing-- We deal with setbacks, letdowns, unexpected twists, and poor outcomes. But unprepared adults don't know how to handle dealing with all of these failures and become easily overwhelmed.

Fear is paralyzing. Parent’s initial instinct is to take care of their kids, protect them from being hurt, and giving them everything they need/want. So they don't realize that they are creating unprepared adults. But when their children grow up and experience failure for the first time, the fear of failing again becomes paralyzing and stops them from trying anything else risky.

Parents have fear. Parents have fears too and in a way, it is the reason why they coddle their children. They fear their kids hurting, not being successful, or not being good enough parents, and that causes them to be overbearing. But the end result is always them being unable to deal with failure. So it's just one big cycle.

Creating successful children. The solution to this problem will be to allow children to fail more. Allow them the opportunity to do things on their own even if you know that they can't-- because one day, they will be able to succeed at whatever it was that they consistently failed at.

How to do this. Outside of letting your child fail, there are more ways that a person can allow their child to experience failure. You can do this by sharing your own failures with your children, giving them more opportunities to experience failure, treat success and failure as the same, and turn failures into teaching moments.