Kids and Teens

Why It’s OK to Let Kids Fail

No one ever wants to see their kids fail at the things they try in life. Whether it’s on the ball field or in the classroom, letting kids fail will help them in the grand scheme of things. Research has shown that kids often learn more from failing than they do from success. As hard as it is for parents to allow it to happen, it’s ok to allow kids to stumble and fail from time to time.

We just have to take a step back and allow it to happen.

Here’s why it’s OK to let kids fail.

Problem Solving

Kids who are allowed to fail also are kids who learn to try. The first failure is the hardest, but once kids see that you can succeed after failure, they will be more willing to try next time. They learn to problem solve and to not make the same mistakes the next time. It’s important to teach children the old mantra “try, try again,” so they persevere in the face of all the obstacles life will throw their way.

Patience

Allowing kids to fail also teaches them to deal with frustration. They are shown that things won’t always go the way they want them to, and it teaches them to take risks. Both of these tendencies, being able to deal with frustration and being willing to take risks, will fair them well into adulthood. Nothing worth having is free of risks, and kids will encounter many frustrating obstacles along the way. When kids fail, their tolerance for frustration increases, so they are more willing to take risks.

Resilience

When kids are allowed to fail, they learn to deal with disappointment.

Nothing in life is ever guaranteed. So many kids don’t have the necessary coping skills to deal with disappointment because their parents have stepped in and not allowed them to fail. They don’t know how to handle rejection or the pain that comes with not getting things exactly as they want them. When kids fail, they learn that not succeeding the first time isn’t so horrible and that disappointment doesn’t last forever.

Motivation

Letting kids fail teaches them to embrace their mistakes as a way to improve their abilities. Failure often motivates, and kids will often want to try to improve to avoid the mistake again. This can become an intrinsic process, where they examine where they went wrong, gain the motivation to try again, and then improve their skills. Kids who fail often learn resilience and ways to overcome adversity.

Planning

Failing teaches kids to strategize and plan ahead. These are critical thinking skills that will benefit them long into adulthood. They will be able to examine their mistakes, develop a plan to correct those mistakes, and then work to implement those changes. No problem will be too small for a kid who knows failure is not the end but a stepping-stone.

Even though it’s important to allow kids to fail, it’s also necessary to examine yourself in the process and decide if this is the right time to back away or if you should step in. Children have to be a certain age before they are able to handle situations alone. You should step if you don’t think your kid is old enough to grasp the situation.

It is also important to access whether your child has the tools he needs to succeed on his own. Does he have the support system, either through his friends, his educators, or his family, to use the failure as a stepping-stone? Constant failure can often make things worse, so stepping in, showing them the right way, is often necessary at some points. Parents can use their own critical thinking skills they developed when they failed as children. It’s perfectly ok to let kids fail and should be encouraged, when appropriate support is in place.

The Blogulator

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