HOW DOES YOUR KID FEEL ABOUT FAILURE?
How does your kid feel about failing?
One thing that was becoming increasingly apparent when I worked as a secondary school English teacher was that with our current education system, and through no fault of the teachers’, kids were given fewer and fewer opportunities to be comfortable with failing. Instead they were ashamed of it.
With so many assessments and tests, target grades and ‘Would Be Better If’s’ it’s no wonder that Generation Z are sometimes referred to as ‘snowflakes’. By encouraging them to always strive for perfection we are in danger of compromising their resilience. And the evidence is shown the statistics we see almost daily; there is an rise in anxiety, self harm and depression in our young people. They are struggling to cope.
Whilst social media can be an amazing place to find your tribe, to connect with people who are going through the same stuff as you, it can exacerbate the need to strive for perfection. Teenagers don’t always question what they see online; many of them won’t remember a time before the smartphone. Whilst we can remind ourselves that most feeds are curated, kids often forget this, or accept it as the norm. So make sure you keep having these conversations with your kids about the images they see. Encourage them to question it all and stay curious. Reassure them that unfollowing people who don’t make them feel good about themselves is OK. Because perfection is never coming, and that’s OK too. Being unique and flaw-full is real life. And the sky will not fall in if your life does not turn out exactly as you thought it would.
The same goes for school too. Straight A’s (or 9s nowadays) should not be hailed as the be all and end all. Always giving them points to improve on is not always as helpful as it intends to be.
I firmly believe that we must allow our young people to fail in order to flourish. In order to learn that perfection is never coming and that is ok.
Furthermore, failure doesn’t always lead to more failure. If we nurture our kids to a more growth mindset approach to tasks then they’ll thrive and enjoy meeting new challenges and that success when it does come. Setting unrealistic targets and #lifegoals is just giving our kids another stick to beat themselves with.
Written by Maria Evans
FOLLOW MARIA AKA THE TEEN COACH
This is a significant part of the work Maria does with her clients. If you think this is something your teen would benefit from check out her Instagram @theteencoach, or her website mariateencoach.com to find out more about my one-to-one coaching. You can also join her Facebook group for free support to help your kid sustain a healthy relationship with social media. Search and request to join Social Savvy Teens.