When your teenager succeeds at something they’ve been working hard to master, it is quite easy to be filled with joy and pride for your teen’s accomplishments. However, it is inevitable that your teen will fail from time to time as they take on bigger goals, strive to learn new things, and grow and mature toward adulthood. While it can be hard for a parent to witness your teen experience failure, it is much more difficult and painful for a teen who has failed.
Often times, teens who fail feel sad or inferior because they were not able to achieve their intended goals with success. In fact, according to a 2015 survey of teens conducted by Stage of Life, 95 percent of teenagers indicated that they’d felt inferior in some way. Of those, 49 percent said that feelings of inferiority stemmed from their inability or lack of skill in an activity.
As a parent, it is important that you prepare your teen and teach them how to handle failure in a positive and productive manner.
Here are four great ways you can guide your teen through the times they fail, and help them grow stronger through those experiences:
Help your teen understand that failure is an option.
Parents Magazine asserts that failure can be beneficial to your teen’s development, but only if they are taught how to handle the times they fail, and cope in a healthy manner. Emphasize that failure is only negative if you don’t use it as an opportunity to grow. It is certainly important to keep consistent standards in place for your teens so they have a strong moral framework and develop persistence and work ethic, but knowing that failure will happen and knowing how to deal with it effectively will help your teen develop good skills that will turn into habits as they mature.
When your teen fails at something they try, focus on guidance, learning, and empathy.
Another way that you can emphasize the lesson on how to fail with grace with your teen is to make sure they understand failure will occur in their lives, and what truly reflects upon them as a person is how they deal with it and use that experience to grow. When your teen fails, and you are helping them work their way through their resulting feelings and actions, it is also a good opportunity to speak about empathy for others. If your teen knows how it feels to experience and overcome failure, they will be more understanding and supportive of others in their lives who fail at times as well.
Encourage your teen to try new things and help them set and manage their expectations.
For Every Mom encourages parents to teach their teens not to fear failure because it can cause teens to develop a fear of trying as well. If your teen expresses interest in trying something new that is healthy, fun, or positive for them to pursue, you should encourage them to do so. As you discuss your teen’s new pursuits and goals, also help them understand their own expectations and help them manage those in tandem with their excitement to try something new. This will help them understand what limitations might exist from the beginning, and will help prevent disappointment.
Be a strong role model and live your teachings openly for your teen to witness.
Your teen is constantly watching how you live your life and deciding each day how they can pattern their life after yours, particularly in areas where you are motivating or successful. Make sure that you show your teen how to handle failure in your own life, and move forward with grace and strength. Share openly with your teen about your experience, and let them know how you felt, what you did to cope, and what you learned.
If your teen is struggling with failures, and you are having trouble connecting with them or helping them find strength and positivity, then speaking to a trained teen counselor could help benefit your teen and your family by giving you coping strategies and support for times of failure.