Parenting And Inevitability Of Failures

If you are an Indian parent between 30 – 50 years of age and grew up in India for most part of your childhood, you would most likely understand the stigma attached to failing.


If you are an Indian parent between 30 – 50 years of age and grew up in India for most part of your childhood, you would most likely understand the stigma attached to failing.

If you scored lesser marks than expected of you in any of the subjects, it would most likely result in harsh scolding by parents, making you fear ‘failure’ even more. And when you look back now, you would certainly feel that much of it was unnecessary. We at Glearnr feel otherwise.

We do believe that pushing kids towards clear outcomes and chastising failures may have been the right approach in the India of the 1990s. India had only opened up its economy in 1991 and was still struggling as a country.

Resources were still a challenge and opportunities for employment were far too few and almost all of them in government enterprises. In such a backdrop, it does make a sincere parent worry about a kids’ future, resulting in chastisement in the face of perceived failures.

The scolding was our parents’ way of saying, “We had it really tough, if you want to do well in life you should make success a habit”.

Let’s fast-forward 30 years, a lot of economic and technological context has changed. More people are employed in the private sector than public. However, the future continues to be uncertain as ever. We wrote more about it here.

But often our way of parenting is pivoted to the way our parents taught us (partly due to respect and partly due to habit) and we continue to view ‘failures’ as critically as our parents did.

We don’t believe that this is correct. First, failure is not always bad. In life, it is sometimes bad, sometimes inevitable, and sometimes even good. Second, learning from failures is anything but straightforward.

Never miss real stories from India's women.

Register Now

The attitudes and activities required to effectively detect and analyse failures are in short supply, and the need for context-specific learning strategies is underappreciated. 

However, there are a few ways one can teach a child to effectively navigate through setback and failure in life:

Need to create psychological safety

Every child learns at some point that admitting failure means taking the blame. This creates a fear of acknowledging failure in its full and ends up creating self loathing at times.

As kids become adults, they continue to hang on to this feeling of self-blame. Therefore, it is important that from an early age, parents inculcate a sense of psychological safety amongst kids to help them overcome the negativities around failing

Focus on process and not on outcome

Henry Thoreau famously said that success usually comes to those who are too busy looking for it. This probably sums up how kids should be taught to focus more on the process than attach themselves to the output.

If you are busy working towards success, you should eventually get it, but if your entire being is hinged on an outcome, it will most likely create disappointment.

Importance of compounding of small steps

Sometimes the biggest reason for failure is the desire to reach the end goal as quickly as possible. In kids, this impatience can quickly lead to disappointment and self rejection. Therefore, it is important for parents to teach kids the importance of small steps and a daily regime.

We have added a chart below that highlights the significance of small incremental gains. Graphs show daily improvements of 0%,0.25%, 0.5% and 1% in any habit. At the end of 1 year (365 days) 1% daily improvement is 36x times the habit where there is 0% improvement.


The inevitability of failures and setbacks

Lastly, the most important thing a parent can teach a kid is that failures and setbacks are inevitable in life and that failures are not a reflection of an individual’s worth but a measure of preparation, readiness and a degree of luck.

Kids need to know that they will most likely fail a few times in life, but that it is important to brush aside these setbacks and keep moving forward. That is the way the world works outside school premises.

At Glearnr, we have kept all of these in mind while allowing courses on our platform. We urge you to go through the courses we provide and write to us at [email protected], if you think we should have some other topics as well.

Image Source: by Sorapop Udomisri, free on Canva Pro

Liked this post?

Join the 100000 women at Women's Web who get our weekly mailer and never miss out on our events, contests & best reads - you can also start sharing your own ideas and experiences with thousands of other women here!


About the Author

Aritra Paul

Editor at Women's Web. She/They. 30. Bi. Bookworm. Comic book connoisseur. read more...

71 Posts | 41,613 Views

Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!

All Categories