Most parents today are looking for the “secret” to helping their kid find happiness. The ultimate goal of parenthood is to raise happy well-adjusted children that can confidently go into the world. If you asked most parents about their secrets to helping their children find happiness, letting their children fail might not be the first thing they would think of. Most parents would rather do anything else than watch their child struggle with something. They would jump in and rescue them rather than see them hurt. All parents are well-intentioned when they try to protect their children but when kids don’t experience what it’s like to make a mistake or fail at something, they miss the opportunity to learn. Furthermore, they don’t know how to improve for the future. Some parents think putting your kids on a sports academy in Gurgaon or computer classes in Noida will do the trick. Worse, if kids are rescued every time a problem arises then they won’t know how to handle tough situations well by themselves. Which is why when parents let their children make mistakes, they are really helping them find happiness.
My earliest memory of my parents teaching me this valuable lesson was when I was in third class. I was always a good student, it came extremely easy to me, almost a bit too easy. I loved reading and my nose was buried inside a storybook at all times. It sounds like a parent’s dream, but gradually I started ignoring my classes. I disliked classes such as math. Instead, I read books I liked during class because reading came easily to me. One day I brought a report card back home. My teacher didn’t give me a passing grade in math because of my lack of class participation. I was humiliated. I expected my parents to swoop in and talk to the teachers. I was a good student after all? I didn’t deserve this! Instead, my parents sat me down and talked to me.
Here are some great strategies to help your kid find happiness, face failure and learn from the experience:
1. “What was your role in this?”
When my parents asked me when this happened I blamed the teacher for being boring. I blamed the school. I blamed everyone but myself. I got defensive, “I was reading! Don’t you want me to read!” But, eventually the defenses and excuses melt away and you see that you are the one that made the mistake. If you want your children to learn from their mistakes they need to know what role that had in the failure and you need to talk to them about it. When you ask your children what happened this is how they can learn and improve for the future.
2. “How will you handle this differently next time?”
Whether it’s losing a sports game or getting a failing grade, how your child handles it differently the next time is what is going to help them respond healthier to challenges they face. When you talk to them about what happened to try empathizing and saying, “I can tell this was a hard experience for you but what would you do differently next time?” Don’t solve the problems for them; allow them to build up their thinking skills to come to the conclusion themselves.
3. “What did you learn from this experience?”
By asking them what they learned you put the responsibility back on your child. Emphasize the positives of learning from your mistakes. You can even share your own experiences or talk to them about how many successful people in the world started out as “failures”. Albert Einstein is rumored to have flunked math. Steve Jobs was fired from his own company, only to return a few years later and build Apple to being one of the biggest tech companies in the world.
Life is full of challenges and as parents, we want to help set up our children to handle those challenges in the best way possible. There is life beyond science and arts as you can always opt for personality development classes in Delhi. They help you learn things beyond studies. Early experiences with failure will help them learn how to handle those challenges and find happiness.
What have your experiences been as a parent? Is it hard for you to let go and let your children fail? Drop us a comment below!