HANDLE WITH CARE
Every child is different, so his or her success and failure will vary too. Parents need to handle such situations with care and not let it affect their equation with them. Experts tell us how
Being a parent comes with responsibility and accountability. You may think you have mastered the art of parenting, but, with every year, there is something new to learn or understand. One such aspect is that of dealing with your child’s failures. While success is easy to handle and hail, failure, on the other hand, leaves you confused on what to do next. Experts state that one must never ever ridicule or scold the child. This can be very demotivating, humiliating and hurt their self-respect.
Dr Nazneen Ladak, psychiatrist, Axis Hospital, points out that guiding your child through failures is very important. Being more friendly and supportive of your child will help them in the future or present. She says, “Let the child learn from his or her mistake. The most important factor is awareness. Accept what they have done and suggest better solutions.”
DEAL WITH IT
Parents should first accept that they cannot always protect their child from failures. They can only guide their child to work through the distress and improve their ability to succeed in the future. Ritika S Aggarwal, consultant psychologist, Jaslok Hospital and Research Centre, says, “How parents react to failure (their own or another’s) is extremely important, as children learn by watching their parents. Thus, parents must model the behaviour they wish to see in their child. If they react to their failures by getting upset or screaming, the child is likely to learn the same behaviour, whereas if they view it as a learning experience, their child will do the same.”fatima Agarkar, educationist and co-founder, KA Eduassociates, shares that accepting that our children are gems in waiting is important. “Their imperfections are a part of their growing up story like it was with us. The difference is, we had less scrutiny and these kids have everything under a microscope. Once you accept, you will approach it as a work in progress ... and that means they hit their peak when it’s the right time. Till then, it is about learning.”
THE FLOP TALKS
When addressing failure, children must be taught to view their abilities with the perspective that hard work can improve or change their abilities. This is more likely to encourage them to work harder to achieve success, and indicates that failure doesn’t always imply a deadend. Aggarwal adds, “When we shield our children from facing and coping with anything less than our expectations, we don’t allow their own coping mechanisms and problem solving skills to develop. Instead, allow them to try new things while guiding them, thus setting them up to take on new challenges with confidence and resilience.”
If the failure doesn’t result in any severe bodily harm or any devastating embarrassments that could have a long term effect on the child, allow them to make their mistakes without running to their rescue. Allow your child to take ownership for his or her failure.
SHOULD A PARENT BE STERN OR NOT?
Aggarwal shares that this would depend on the situation and behaviour exhibited by the child. Having said that, it is a difficult tight rope walk between the two. Being very stern repeatedly could cause the child to fear the parent, thereby creating a situation where the child hides his failure from the parent for fear of punishment or out of shame. Taking it lightly could indicate to the child that failures are more than okay, and don’t need to be worked upon.
Archana Goenka, trustee and academic director, CP Goenka International School, says, “A parent today, more than ever, cannot be stern. Instead, sitting down with the child and understanding the reasons for not having achieved the desired result, will help both the parent and the child analyse what are the changes they need to make, and how the child should go about trying to better his chances of success the next time.”
Let the child learn from his or her mistake. The most important factor is awareness, accept what they have done, suggest better solutions.
DR NAZNEEN LADAK, PSYCHIATRIST