How to Encourage Your Son After He Has Failed

Failure is part of life. Failure is a stepping stone on the pathway to success. Neither of these two facts make failure any easier to handle. As a Father, I have watched my sons fail in areas when they really wanted to succeed. I have seen my son strike out during his turn at bat. I have seen him fail to get a 100% on a test he really wanted to get perfect. In these, and many other instances, I watched my son get very upset and discouraged by his failure. It was my job to help him through it.

In a world that places a premium on success, failure is anathema. I am not saying I want to get away from striving to succeed. I am saying that we must understand that failure and success are not enemies. They are two sides of the same coin. Here is what I say to my son after he fails.

  1. Everyone fails. This certainly does not make him feel better, but it is nonetheless true. Sometimes those who fail, especially children, allow themselves to be drawn into self-pity and the feeling that they “always” fail. This is not true. Remind them they are not alone.
  2. Failure is only bad if you don’t learn from it. Failure is a great teacher. Every great success story in America has failure in it. It is how we learn from our failures that makes a difference. Identify what went wrong, and see if there is something you can do to correct your error.
  3. My love for my son is not based on his percentage of success and failure. I make sure I assure him of this often. Far too many times we can give our children the impression that the only way to make us happy as parents is to succeed. I assure my son of my love and pride no matter the outcome of his endeavor.
  4. No one is a failure. Failure is a verb, not a noun. People fail, but people are NOT failures. I refuse to allow my son to define himself as a failure. He may fail. We all fail. None of us are failures.
  5. All I ever expect is his best. I hate the grading system in our schools. We say that A’s are the best and F’s are the worst. Who made that rule? What if the best a child is capable of is a B-? Should he be ridiculed because he failed to achieve and A? I have always taught my children that I expect their best, not Society’s best. I have often looked over a report card with my son and challenged them to raise a grade point average from a C+ to a B+ because I believed he was capable of more. If he does, I brag on him for the B+ because I know that it took just as much effort for him to achieve that grade as it took for another student to raise their grade from and B+ to an A.

Dads, maybe this advice can help you in dealing with your own son’s failures. I often have to remind myself of these very things when I fail. The next time your son fails; come to his defense. That is what Dads are for!

Source by Mark W Foster

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