Allowing Failure

by Lynn Dorman, Ph.D. // July 9 // 4 Comments

This is an idea I have had in my head since years ago when working with suicidal male teens.


Most were suicidal because at ages 13, 14 or 15 they were experiencing a failure or a loss for the 1st time! No matter their background, they had never learned about failure.


And learning it when hormones are raging and your body is out-of-whack is not the best time developmentally to experience what you consider a major loss.

What were their losses?

  • Being dumped by a girlfriend.
  • Failing a class.
  • Failing a test.
  • Not getting a high enough grade.
  • Not making the basketball team….

From an adult perspective we might not see these as major loses. But these boys were in a hospital because they did – and they wanted to end their lives!

As parents we want to help our kids and protect them from failure and here are 2 examples:

  • we intentionally lose games so they win
  • we do their homework so they get good grades or don't feel "bad"

But are we helping our kids?

Failure can be a learning experience – and part of growing up is learning that actions have consequences [both parental and child actions]

Parents, let your children lose that game when they are losing!

If you are capable of winning it – win it.

Yes they will probably have hissy fits but they will also learn a lot.

Talk to them about losing games and emphasize that a loss has no reflection on their worth as a person! And after a bit they know you lost on purpose anyway and that is an odd lesson!


Please don’t do their homework.

This is wrong on so many levels it needs a post of its own.

Help? Sure? But do all or most of it?

Whose homework is it?????

To be continued……..

Thoughts? comments? thank you

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