Failure is a normal part of life, but for a young child
encountering it for the first time it can feel absolutely crushing. Most
parents are already familiar with just how intensely kids experience defeat:
they’ve seen their child refuse to ever ride a bike again after falling
off a few times, for example, or heard her call herself “terrible” at sports
after being unable to hit a baseball.
While it’s perfectly normal for children to hit a “wall” of frustration at some point in their lives, when they limit themselves as a result of the experience, they set the stage for further problems. Not only do kids who succumb to defeat miss out on valuable life experiences (the child who declares herself “terrible” at sports will usually avoid participating in any athletic events, for instance), they can inadvertently cultivate a pessimistic pattern of responding to challenges. They often begin to believe that they are personally to blame…
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