How to Help Kids Overcome Fear of Failure
Kids should be allowed to fail and learn from their mistakes. However, children should also learn how to succeed.
Fear of failure is directly linked with your self-worth. Students will do anything to avoid failure and maintain a sense of worthiness. This leads to long term consequences.
Fortunately, the research also provides teachers with tips for helping students deal with feelings of failures. Teachers should be aware of how their students feel about themselves. Students need to know what they’re capable of doing.
The Games We Play to Avoid Failure
Covington’s research shows that people who do well at work or school tend to think highly of themselves. People who fail to perform are seen as incompetent and unworthy.
People who fail often try to justify their failures by saying things like “I’m not smart enough” or “I didn’t work hard enough”. These people may even start thinking about how much smarter other people are than them. This makes them feel bad about themselves.
Covington found that, When it comes to dealing with failures, most students fall into four categories. Success-oriented students are those who love learning for the purpose of learning and see failure only as a means to improve their abilities. Their parents praise success and seldom, if ever, criticize failure.
Overstrivers are people who try hard but fail to succeed. They are afraid of failing and therefore do everything possible to make sure they won’t fail. They believe that if they fail, they are stupid or incompetent. So they try to succeed without putting in much effort. This leads them to be dishonest about how much work they put into something. Their goal is to get high grades without actually doing anything.
Students who don’t expect to succeed tend to work hard and do well in school. They think that if they put in a lot of effort but fail, then this means they’re bad at something and therefore, not worthy of respect. However, if they don’t try and still fail, then they’ll be seen as incompetent and not worthy of respect.
Students should work hard because if they don’t, they’ll get bad grades. Teachers should reward effort and punish laziness. There’s no way out for lazy students.
Students who fail often do not try hard enough to succeed. They give up easily when things get difficult. They may blame others or themselves for their failure.
Failure-avoiding students tend to focus in non-academic areas, while failure-accepting students concentrate on academics. Students motivated by fear of failure usually come from families that do not praise success and often punish failures. These students think that their parents’ love is conditional upon their academic success.
Students who understand the fear of failing may be more likely to succeed than those who do not. However, this does not mean that we should tell students to buck-up and deal. We need to help them understand what causes the fear of failing and then teach them ways to cope with it.