Parents Need to Reframe Failure

On Father’s Day I gave a message at my church that took all 59 of my years to speak. What I had to say about failure stood out to me as especially important. For the whole message you can click here.

Parents, You Need to Reframe Failure

The older your kids get, the more they will explore. And the more they explore, the greater the chance they’ll get into trouble. So, mom and dad, you need to decide in advance how you are going to handle their failure. What’s going to be your response? What will you say? How will you say it? What will be your facial expression when you say it?father-daughter-family

Your child will learn a lot about himself or herself based on how you respond to their failure. They look to you to interpret their failure. They want to know what YOU think.  Have you ever noticed what a child does right after they fail at something? They look to their parents to see their response. If they show disgust and disappointment the child will believe they ARE a failure. Failure will become their identity and their behavior will show it. So you need to reframe failure for them.

Einstein defined failure as “success in progress.” That’s a great perspective. So, with your encouragement, your child will learn that failure is just one stop on the road to success and not a dead-end street. Failure isn’t cause for shame or defeat. It’s just a temporary setback on a child’s way to success.

Failure isn’t cause for shame or defeat. It’s just a temporary setback on a child’s way to success.

For some of you, being this positive might take some work. It does for me. My first reaction is often negative. People don’t always know that about me. If you know me well, you see my negative side. But if you just listen to me on Sunday, you probably think I’m very positive. I am, but it’s a two-step process. I often think a negative thought and then have to reframe it before I speak. Dads, you might want to try that if you are naturally negative. If you want your kids to love being with you, learn to be positive.

For example, what’s the first thing you tell your kids when you see them in the morning, or when you get home from work, or after a game, or when you pick them up to from your ex for the weekend? Do you criticize their hair, or their clothes, or how late they are? Or do you smile and tell them it’s good to see them first? It’s easier to hear about being late from someone who is smiling than from someone who is scowling.

I was listening to a Christian radio station yesterday. It’s called K-LOVE and its tag line is “positive and encouraging.” Dads, that should be our tag line too. Positive and encouraging. When our kids think of us, I want them to think of us as their biggest supporter.

Listen or read the full message here.

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