Fails in academics or sports or fails to get the 1st rank or the 1st prize?
What happens to you? Forget about the child. What happens to you matters.
Because knowingly or unknowingly you pass it on to the child.
It could be any of the following responses
Angry and annoyed with the world – is it your own unmet expectation that is making you angry? Were you sure your child would win and you could not digest the defeat?
Do you sense foul play? Are the “others” in the world responsible for your child’s failure? Was there a grand scheme to pull your child down?
If so, you are passing the message to your child that failure is unacceptable. That he/she is the best and if they are not accorded this by the world, it is the world’s fault and not theirs. That he does not need to work hard, but rather find a scapegoat that caused the failure
Careless – not bothered
Are you the one who doesn’t even know when was teh test or the competition? And whether he wins loses or chooses not to participate, you are not bothered? You have too many things – business, gossip, parties, financial load, etc on your plate to even look at your child?
If this is your consistent behaviour, you are telling the child that he is insignificant. Don’t be surprised when he grows up to find you insignificant and useless. Don’t be surprised if he does not call and check on you when you grow older.
Depressed and dejected
Are you the one who feels hurt and dejected when your child does not win? Do you go into your own past when you lost and felt left out? Do you give up food and humour and laughter for a few hours/days because you too are mourning the outcome? Do you try to hide your feelings from others because you don’t want to “disturb” them? Or simply because you know they won’t understand?
If so, you are passing on the message that failure is permanent and has to be handled all alone. That it is final and nothing can be done hereafter. That our efforts are trivial and we are only helpless creatures who can lament. That we are alone in this world and talking about our feelings is cowardly. When the child grows up, she also will choose to bite into the unpleasant experience all by herself. Creating walls so high that you voice or love cannot reach them.
Calm and composed
Are you the rare parent who can stay calm and composed on seeing your child fail? Can you listen to her and hold her through the frustration without patronizing, without being judgemental, without being rude or harsh? Can you empathize without advising? Can you be an active listener and not let her frustration affect you? Can you nudge her out of the shell of frustration and inspire her to work harder next time? To accept that world is not always fair in the manner of 2+2=4 but that karma has a way of rewarding that may elude the human temporarily.
Can you wait for her to bounce back so that she may face another battle and may lose or win but it will be her earning?
If you can be that parent, then I salute you and your child will cherish you forever.
But I am sure you were not born that way. You too have worked on it. And thank you for the same.
Things you can do when your child faces failure-
Not let it affect you. His failure is not a certificate of your parenting
Let the child accept some part of the responsibility. Not blame the external factors entirely.
Share stories of courageous and successful people who faced failure in the past. Nobody won at everything, always!