Teaching Kids about Coping with Fear of Failure- (Part 1)

Monkey boy posing behind bars
Monkey boy posing behind bars

As your child grows up and at different stages in their lives there are various challenges and obstacles which have to be overcome.

I’m starting off this series by focusing on my first born~ Monkey boy who is one of my biggest challenge.

[Some background information about my #1]

Monkey boy recently turned 10 years ago and is currently in Primary 4 . He  is a high achiever as he is doing relatively well in school in both academic and sports.

He in the top class in the level and has been scoring within the top 10% of the cohort for the past three years.  In the recent sports day he took part in the 6 x 80m relay and his team came in first.

Monkey boy has been learning swimming and piano since he was young and will be sitting for his Grade 4 ABRSM Piano Practical Exam later on in the year. He is also doing  Badminton as a CCA in school and is in the competitive training squad.

You may think that I don’t have much to worry about as he is performing well in school however this is far from the truth.

Monkey boy is one that does not accept failure. He gets frustrated easily and sometimes rather give up then try when he  feels that it may be too difficult for him or he may not perform well in the task.

It is really frustrating as it makes it very difficult for him to progress with this mental block which he has created for himself.  I have tried explaining to him the need to just try or else he would never know the result in the end.

I haven’t been successful  in convincing him to try. It has been exasperating as he argues with me and insists that I refuse to teach him while I am trying to teach him to try it out himself first.

He feels that everyone is being harsh with him or deliberately not helping him to solve his problem.  What he doesn’t understand or refuses to understand is that he needs to take the first step and attempt to try to solve the issue himself. He needs to be the one to take the initiative.

Even though it may not be a life and death situation at the moment with the issues he is currently facing he still needs to learn how to deal with it ~ himself.

It is impossible for us , parents, to be there all the time for our kids and solve their problems for them.

I believe that it is more important to teach them how to address problems and difficulties themselves and provide them with the tools to help them along the way.

The fear that he has of failure is crippling him and I am actively seeking to help him overcome this stumbling block.

In the next post I will be sharing the new techniques that I have recently learned that I will be using with Monkey boy to address his fears.



Post in this series

– Parenting with Less Stress ( An Introduction)

– Teaching Kids about coping with the fear of Failure (Part 1)

– Teaching Kids about coping with the fear of Failure (Part 2)

– Encouraging a Struggling Learner (Part 1)

– Encouraging a Struggling Learner (Part 2)

-Dealing with a Strong Willed Child (Part 1)

– Dealing with a Strong Willed Child( Part 2)

– An Update on Monkey Boy

An Update on Doggie boy


19 thoughts on “Teaching Kids about Coping with Fear of Failure- (Part 1)”

  1. I love this topic. I know that my daughter is a perfectionist too and she often won’t try if something is too hard. But once she gets it done, she often realizes that it wasn’t as hard as she thought it was.

    I think you should explain to him how many times your or some of the big gurus like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had to fail several times before they became successful.

    1. @Christy,
      thanks for your suggestions. I’m not sure if he will be able to relate to Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at the moment but I’ll use my own experiences as examples for him to learn from.

  2. Dominique,

    Thanks for the helpful tips!
    always a pleasure to pick your mind and read what you have to say..
    “he still needs to learn how to deal with it ~ himself.”
    that’s the most important thing a parent can do – teach how to deal with life.
    a child should prepare for the “real” world by knowing how to deal with everything himself and be independent..

  3. I have the same problem with my boys. The elder one just buried his problem under the carpet without a fuss. The younger one throws tantrum, screams and shouts when he faces difficulties.

    Looking forward to reading more on this topic

  4. My son is now 17 years old. When he was in pre-school, he got high grades as well as joined contests and the like. When he went to grade school, he wanted to be like everyone else and became more passive in studies, but so good with friends! At that time, I was “guilty” of also having my own goals (my husband and I were taking masteral class) and so I had little time to follow him up. But, I also really wanted him to learn early because he is an only child and many thought he was a spoiled brat, which I know he is not! Among my thoughts were: 1) I put him in a big school with about 45 classmate, so he knows that he isn’t the most superior nor is he the lowest in class; 2) he has to face reality as early at this young age, while we were still around him to guide him and 3) if there were challenges (and there were significant ones!), he should learn from these! He continues to have challenges now in college, but somehow, I feel his mind is moving and he is motivating himself already!

    1. @Pinay,
      Glad to read your sharing here in the comments. It’s great that your son is motivating himself already and knows that facing challenges is part and parcel of life. Mine have yet to reach that stage.

  5. This made me ask myself if I have taught my son how to cope with failure. He is not that good in school, sometimes gets low grade, he gets frustrated and would give me a really sad face but I always tell him that he can always improve, and no matter how hard the road is, the important thing is that he finish strong.

  6. It’s never easy to teach a child about failure or disappointment and you’ve made important points every parents should learn. I guess I learn little by little. Thanks for sharing your point of view.

  7. I will wait for your next post. I think this is one trait of every child and they should be guided and teach how to accept failures. Just keep on saying, if you failed, it means you haven’t succeeded yet. Just keep on trying.

  8. I am already looking forward to part 2. My nephew, who plays games in the iPad is no stranger to trying again, and again, and again. I hope that he can apply the same principle to life situations in the future.

  9. It’s difficult to teach kids in coping with fear failure. I guess you just have to take it one step at a time. Do it slowly. Soon, they will handle it well.

  10. My daughter is the same way. She’s only 5, but she’s quick to give up when she reaches a tough point rather than figure out a way to solve the problem.

  11. Teaching kids that they don’t always have to be perfect and that failing at things is part of learning and growing is such a hard lesson. My kids are grown now, but we struggled with it too. It starts young with them getting frustrated at not being able to complete a task. For us it got better with age and more socialization. When they saw other kids not being perfect at everything.

  12. Thank you for sharing about your 10 year old son, our son is 3 and your post got me thinking about what he will be like when he is your son’s age….

Comments are closed.