Failure, mastery and resiliency: Allowing kids to fail (some) helps them succeed in the long run

How allowing kids to failure helps them succeed in the long runFor a parent, watching a child struggle is difficult. Sitting idly by while they fail can feel downright impossible. No matter how tempting it may be to swoop in to rescue your child in times of distress, experts agree that this behavior is actually damaging to children.

According to psychologist Michael Ungar, head of the Resilience Research Centre at Dalhousie University, “The point of parenting should be to grow a child who is capable of taking on adult tasks.”

Easier said than done, think many parents. And, worry can often drive parents to take control. But, these good intentions are destined to backfire.

“By not allowing children to falter or experience disappointment, you render them helpless—the precise opposite of what most parents hope to achieve,” explains Susan Newman Ph.D. in a recent article for Psychology Today.

Of course, “failure” comes in many forms. So, if you are ready to “give your child wings,” it’s important to create opportunities where the child can fail in a safe environment, learn from the experience, master a new skill and eventually become more resilient.

Some simple tips for parents include:

  • Stop hovering. Step away when a child is learning something new.
  • Create opportunities for success. The memory of repeated success builds resiliency.
  • Resist the urge to simply tackle a task yourself, rather than watch your child struggle. He can’t learn if he never tries.
  • Don’t share your worries about competence with your child.
  • Never label your child or compare one child to another.
  • Although it’s difficult, try not to take it personally if your child doesn’t agree with you, or does things differently from you.

What’s the best approach? Let your child experience the consequences of his actions and allow him to make his own mistakes, face his own consequences, and (within reason) solve his own problems.”

Back to Basics Private School: Where every student can succeed

At Back to Basics Private School in Wilmington, Delaware, success is a learned behavior. The 1:1 teacher to student ratio means that your child can listen without distraction.  He can speak and ask questions without fear. And, he can try and fail. Then, he can try again.

This revolutionary style of learning emphasizes not only academic success, but also positive, mentoring relationships and social remediation, if necessary.  The personalized curriculum, combined with a nurturing and supportive environment, inspire a true love for learning.

Call us now or email  to schedule a no-obligation school tour. Back to Basics Private School is open M-F, 8:30-5:00 for tours and informational meetings.