“Mom, I have a stomach ache and a fever.”, you hear your child say.
You place your hand on their forehead and find beads of sweat. Your child’s face is red, palms are sweaty, and pulse racing.
They look at you nervously and you realize that they are scared. Why could that be?
“Of course! Today is the Maths exam!”
No wonder your child is agitated and feeling feverish. After all, they have always been scared of failing in Maths. Somehow, you pacify your child and send them off to school.
This episode is sadly not over. How can you ensure that such an incident doesn’t happen again?
Let’s find out.
Why do Children Fear Failure?
There was a time when monsters and ghosts were all you had to worry about. Those fears were dismissed easily as fiction. However, studies are very real. Before we can tackle the problem, we have to analyze why children are afraid to fail. It all comes down to pressure from different sources.
Almost every parent has high expectations for their children. However, they don’t realize the problems their child faces. As parents, we want our kids to do better than us and succeed in life. There is nothing wrong in this thinking, but we must remember that our children are not us. If you are a parent reading this, think back to when you were a kid. Children have their own difficulties and problems to deal with. The main reason most children are afraid to fail is that it will make their parents feel enraged, disappointed, or hurt.
Next comes peer-pressure. Children are afraid to fail as this might lead to teasing from their classmates and friends. They do not want to cut a sorry figure in front of their peers and face embarrassment.
Some teachers look at children disapprovingly when they fail or scold them in front of the whole class, especially as this is how most answer papers are handed out. Children feel afraid to fail as they do not wish to be humiliated in front of the class by the teachers or face punishment.
Repeated failure in class tests makes some children feel that they are worthless and have no competence. Combined with the previous three pressure sources, this instills a lack of confidence and fear of failure in the students.
So, now that we know the main reasons for fear of failure, here are some tips to help children overcome it.
Tips for Students to Overcome Their Fear of Failure
1. Identify and Understand the Fear
The first step in teaching children to overcome their failure is to first help them recognize and identify it. What are they afraid of and why? Is Maths scary for them because they do not get the right answers even if they try? Or is it History because they have a tough time remembering dates?
This is known as root cause analysis, where you keep asking questions and peeling back layers to identify the source of the problem.
They might be scared of multiple subjects for different reasons. Ask the child to write down their fears in a piece of paper. This brings clarity in addressing their fears.
2. Communicating their fear
Being afraid is perfectly normal. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Now, the child must communicate it. By informing their fear to peers, parents, and teachers, the child can seek support and suggestions to overcome it.
For instance, if a child conveys a fear of Hindi to his parent or teacher, they can help by engaging extra coaching or tuitions, registering the child on online practice sites or even guide the child personally to help them overcome this fear. Teachers too can pay extra attention to children if they express their fear of the subject.
3. Map Fear to a Course of Action
It’s okay to be afraid as long as you convert it into positive energy. For instance, if the child fears Maths because of wrong answers, he/she must be made to understand that it is only because of careless mistakes that they probably go wrong. Rechecking the problem and redoing the steps may help them prevent errors and instill confidence and courage to do Maths.
Children who fear Science because they do not have a clue what the answer is must be made to understand that they should first make an attempt to solve the problem. Take clues from the question itself, write definitions, expand upon previous related answers, etc. This is called bluffing. Even if the answer is wrong, never mind. They should at least try writing something down.
Children fear of failure in class subjects can also be removed by motivating them to practice. Practice makes every child gain a grasp of the subject and overcomes their fear of failure. With the help of online practice sites, children can work out sample problems to overcome their fear of failure in subjects. Work hard to stamp the fear out.
4. Look at Fear as an Opportunity
Children should be taught to take fear as a challenge to beat. Motivate children through real-life examples of great men who failed in school yet succeeded in life. For example, Michael Dell, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates all dropped out of college. Teach children that failure is temporary and can be overcome with persistence and dedication.
5. Planning and Preparation
A clear plan and sound preparation are enough to sow the seeds of success. Fear often comes to children because they have not prepared well enough. Teach them to spend ample time on preparation to avoid the fear of failure.
Failure is a stepping stone to success, and no one has ever succeeded without failing. Make children overcome these hurdles and handicaps of failure by guiding, motivating and supporting them rightly. Teach them that it is alright to fail but it is never right if they do not try.
Face your fears. If you fail, so be it. You must understand this and then you must make your child understand it. Failures will happen, but it is important to learn from them.
When Thomas Alva Edison was asked about his repeated failures before creating the light bulb, he had this to say:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Fear just means “Face Everything And Rise”. Enlighten children to make them realize that Fear can be overcome by practice.
The best way is to practice, and that’s what LetsPractise helps you do. We have loads of question papers and practice sheets on a variety of subjects. Maths, Hindi, Science, Social Studies, whatever your child’s fear is, we can help him or her overcome it. Please view our plans and find the one most suitable for your child.
Remember not to put undue pressure on them as threats and yelling will only make them more afraid. Contact us for more. It’s time to decimate your fears.