Quick Tips: Dealing with Failure

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In a society where every child gets a prize for participating, how can we help our children lose with grace? Let’s face it, after childhood you stop getting awards for participation. This unfortunate reality is hard to swallow especially when children have very little experience with it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting praise, respect, and cheering on aren’t necessary. I am suggesting however, that we aren’t doing our children any favors by contantly giving them awards for simply showing up. To put it into perspective, when was the last time you were given a trophy for being on time for work? Or a handed a pretty ribbon for cleaning up the dinner dishes? There are plenty of loving and wonderful things you can do to help a child be an active participant in their academics, sports, and other extracurricular activities without feeling like they need to receive something to make it all worth while. The gift of losing gracefully is the ability to see that your worth is inherently always there, win or lose. If a child can master this mindset success will follow. Below are a few quick tips to help you child deal with failure. More to come next week!

  • Positive verbal affirmations. For example: “You did you’re best and I’m so proud of you!” It’s important to give them authentic praise. Skip going overboard with made-up compliments to ease their pain. You can certainly find things that they did well and praise them accordingly.
  • Point out the fun that was had even when they lose and help them explore things they can be proud of. For example: “What was your favorite part of today?” and “I know you lost, and what do you think you did well?”
  • Let them be sad about losing and talk them through their feelings. Sometimes the disappointment of losing is very strong and should be addressed. Allow them the space to feel sad about it, and then help them move on.