Gift of Failure

Read this book twice and took some notes. Here are notes / excerpts for personal reminders.

“Kids who are praised for effort are more likely to have a growth mindset, the understanding that intelligence and capability can be improved with effort.

“Praise for efforts: The kids who had been praised for their smarts tended to give up, whereas the kids who had been praised for effort tried harder.

“The students did not give up because they did not take the failure personally; they did not think that their inability to correctly answer the problems right away meant that they were not smart. the kids who accepted the challenge problems said the hard problems were more fun.

“If I tell my son that he’s smart, I’m telling him that I value him for being smart, and he’s going to be a lot less likely to try things that might damage his “smart” label, lest he fail, which, in his kid brain, could cause me to withdraw my love and approval. However, if I tell him that I am proud of him for the effort he put into editing the short story he wrote last week, I am reinforcing behavior, not judging him.


“Kids who believe that intelligence grows with effort and diligence will be less distraught about failures, more likely to stick with tasks through those failures, and may even have more fun as they do so.


“Teach your child to see the realities of her shortcomings and failures and react accordingly.



“Sit with the emotions and don’t try to jump in and resolve the situation. After all, these are his failures, not yours, and it is unfair and counterproductive to try to make it all better for him. What you are teaching him through your patient silence and inaction on his behalf is that he has the inner strength to move on from failure.

DO NOT OFFER TO RESCUE YOUR CHILD FROM THE CONSEQUENCES OF HIS MISTAKES. Your offer to rescue implies that you don’t believe he has the ability to find a solution himself

success is tied to effort, not innate talent.

“Failure and rejection are a part of the learning process, particularly when we move beyond our comfort zones, but it’s amazing what can happen once we break out of our self-imposed limits.

duct-tape parenting” sometimes keeping our mouths shut and holding ourselves back from interfering in these learning moments requires something strong. Keep the concept of autonomy-supportive parenting in mind and offer support, not control.No butting in, no prompting, and no correcting unless asked.

“The cost of overprotecting is that the child does not develop the skills to fight back, speak up or get the hell out of the way. If a child is taught by their parent that an adult will swoop in and fight for them or save them from any form of challenging situation, that child will keep expecting that to happen and not look for solutions to help herself.

“As we send our kids out into the world, we need to trust them more, and when they live up to our trust, catch them doing things right and praise them. This may require changing your mindset but keep an eye out for theirgood judgment, character and resilience, and let them know that that’s what you value above all else.

“Using poor judgment is part of growing up.

“Don’t ask your child to fulfil your own (athletic) Don’t be the parent who attempts to relive past glory or play out unfulfilled dreams through a child.

“Know the difference between quitting and failure

“there comes a time when all of us must decide whether or not the struggle – of sports, or a relationship, or any other path we choose to take – is worth the pain. “In a broad sense, all learning and growth require struggle, but there is a difference between the experience of struggle that leads to success and the experience of struggle that leads to only more struggle.”

“Failure is a fact of life in those early years of secondary school, so embrace it.

“Adolescents are notoriously lacking in self-awareness;

teaching self-awareness is an important part of helping kids gain control of their own behaviour.

Techniques to help:

-Agree on a signal to remind when signs appear

-pencil game

-FER – flag, engage, repeat

(figure out what’s important to pay attention to;

Engage with the person who is teaching the issue (eg);

Repeat/ rehears the important point in your head to move it fr short term memory to long term memory)

Teach your child critical listening skills. Part of improving working memory is filtering out all of the stuff kids don’t need to remember. If you listen to the news on the radio on the way to school, ask your child, “What do you think were the two most important ideas in that story?” This skill will really pay off down the road as kids get older and the amount of information they are expected to assimilate increases. #kun #kun

Praise effort while supporting future improvement. The more kids learn how to look at their own work and measure it against external expectations, the better they will get at measuring their own progress and working up to those expectations.

patience and a willingness to allow kids to deal with their failures and the consequences of their mistakes.

Let them fail. Let them get upset when they make mistakes, and when they do, don’t save them. Every consequence experienced will hasten your child’s acquisition of these skills. Conversely, every time you rescue, you extend your child’s helplessness by another day.

Our job is not to protect them from their failures along the way, but to help them cope with setbacks as they occur, because when they move out of their childhood home and begin to forge their own path, they are going to need all the resources and tools we can give them. The road ahead is theirs, not ours, and as tempted as we may be to pave the way for them so that we can live vicariously through their successes, it’s time to let them live their own lives, to unravel our own priorities and needs from theirs.

(On parents’ believes that we cannot let kids fail cos the stake is too high – can’t fail the O level etc)

The irony is that there are all kinds of ways to be successful, and they mostly boil down to being happy. If we rob our children of their opportunity to fail, we rob them of their opportunity to, ultimately, be happy despite the realities of the economic and political world they will live in because they won’t develop the self-confidence and resilience necessary to find creative solutions to challenges in their own lives with their own realities.

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