Mum Daily

Why it’s okay for your child to fail

boy riding bike

Focus on Effort, Not Outcome

Do you get excited when your children get everything right?

Or do you get excited when your children make mistakes and feel like what they’re doing is hard?

Studies show that when we praise or reward kids for being brilliant, they get caught up in ‘proving’ how good they are. And this leads to them avoiding things they could fail at – because failure might mean they’re not so good after all.

But research also shows that when children make mistakes and we celebrate their determination and persistence, they develop a mastery focus. And they get excited about challenges and failing – because challenges and failure mean they’re getting better.

This is a counter-intuitive finding – for confident children, focus on process, effort, and mastery – not outcome. Teach kids that failures are opportunities to learn. And if success comes easy, play it down and find them a real challenge so they can really master something – and celebrate real success.

Find out more about raising positive kids at

what your child needs from youGrab your copy of Dr Justin Coulson’s book: What Your Child Needs From You:

A practical manual for creating a connected family, What Your Child Needs From You delivers concrete strategies to help parents build meaningful relationships with their children.

The single most important thing children need in order to grow into happy, resilient adults, is for someone in their lives to be consistently emotionally available to them. What Your Child Needs From You outlines methods through which parents can cultivate emotional availability with their children, and so learn to really understand them. Making use of emotional availability and understanding promotes a different, more effective comprehension of discipline within families, which allows parents to teach children positive ways to act rather than punishing them using more punitive means.

Families who integrate the principles described in What Your Child Needs From You into their everyday lives will be more peaceful, harmonious and functional, and will raise children who grow into kind and compassionate adults.