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The 7 Best Expert Parenting Tips on Building a Child’s Resilience

Don't tell your kid not to feel bad. Feeling bad can be good.

Failure leads to feelings of disappointment and that’s not always a bad thing. Making mistakes and not meeting expectations are natural parts of life. Overcoming those setbacks is a critical learned skill that children need to practice in order to become resilient and effective adults. The ability to take and develop constructive criticism is key to moving forward and becoming resilient. Whether a child faces disappointment at home, during school, or in sports, they should be able to learn what went wrong and what could be done better. If children fear failure, they’ll likely be averse to emotional and intellectual risk as they get older. If you want your kids to become self-reliant adults, first they need to face disappointment head-on.

Here’s what researchers, scientists, and experts recommend about teaching kids to manage their disappointing feelings.

  • Take a deep breath and move on. How you react to failure will influence how your child will deal with it, whether they learn a lesson, get on with life, or get aggravated.
  • Discuss new tasks and commitments with your child to help them understand that overcoming obstacles is necessary to learning while quitting is the easy way out.
  • If they want to quit, remind them they originally wanted to try. Quitting only gets easier the more they do it.
  • Don’t tell your kid to not feel bad after they fail. Research says people who distance themselves from failures do not improve, while those who let the pain in learn and improve.
  • Let your kid dwell on their failures for a small amount of time. They’re more likely to try harder the next time around, as they don’t want to experience those emotions again.
  • If you don’t know why something didn’t work out, say “I don’t know,” then find the answer with them. Helping your child research facts instills confidence and helps them communicate what they learn.
  • Be more goal-oriented than grade-oriented. Grades are an extrinsic, rather than intrinsic, reward, and extrinsic rewards kill the kind of motivation that makes kids want to learn.