Creative Child

Parenting: Teaching Success Through Failure

by Deborah Song


  1. Take manageable risks. Encourage your child to take risks but help him pursue failure in manageable doses. Since failure for the sake of failure is never the purpose, don’t place a highly sensitive child that abhors contact sports in a football field, for instance. Instead, guide him in a fitting direction and encourage him to try, fail and thrive there.
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  1. Expose them to the failures of others. Failure feels bad because we feel alone when we fail. When in fact, everyone who has ever done anything worthwhile has failed. Many times. So expose your children to stories of accomplished people who have had to try over and over. This will show them that failure is not only excusable, but it’s absolutely necessary for achievement.
  1. Check your own mentality about failure. If you inherently abhor failure in your child, all of the above efforts will be negated. There is no point in saying, “Good job for trying!” when your face is wearing a disappointed frown. Your child naturally needs your approval. It is the lifeblood to a child’s confidence. So if the idea of your child failing makes you feel queasy, try reading The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well is the Key to Success.” There are many examples of how accomplishments were made not in spite of mistakes but because of them.


Deborah Song is a Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master's in journalism from New York University. She is the founder of, and is passionate about helping parents find better work-life balance and proper support through community.

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