Life isn’t a string of continual successes; it’s a string of attempts at success. Think of your child’s first steps. Many of those initial efforts to walk likely ended in a tumble. But that didn’t stop them from getting up again. Soon enough, your child was walking and eventually running. That’s how growth works. You try. You fail. You try again. As your child gets older, you’ll help him or her take on bigger and more complex endeavors — physically, mentally and emotionally. There will be more falls and even some face plants, no doubt. But your job as a parent is to help your child get back up and try again. Help your child prepare for future challenges by:
- Making sure your child knows that the process of learning a skill can be as important as the skill itself, and that failure isn’t something to be feared or avoided.
- Helping your child see failure as a natural byproduct of learning and experimenting with new things.
- Acknowledging when a situation stinks. Let your child know that it’s OK to be disappointed or upset.
- Encouraging your child to think about how to deal with the loss or how to get better.
- Sharing stories about times that you failed and what you learned from the experiences.
- Letting your child see you try new things, even if it’s something you’re not good at.
This content originally appeared in the Mayo Clinic Guide to Raising a Healthy Child.
Angela C. Mattke, M.D.
Dr. Mattke is a general pediatrician in the Division of Community Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. In addition to being Medical Editor of “Mayo Clinic Guide to Raising a Healthy Child,” She is host of Mayo Clinic’s interactive Facebook Live show and podcast called, “#AskTheMayoMom,” where she discusses and answers audience questions about common pediatric health topics. You can follow her on Twitter at @DrAngelaMattke. For more information about pediatric health topics, follow @mayoclinickids on Twitter.