Great principle I try to live by and instill in my kids as well. Not always successful. But I have noticed that kids seem to be kind of born or conditioned to be afraid of failure.

I had to work hard on changing that attitude. It is like you got to celebrate failure. I noticed my older son always picking the easier of the math problems in his school book when given the chance.

I knew he could do the harder ones most of the time so this puzzled me. The way I found around this was to tell him:

"If you never make a mistake, it means it is too easy for you. You are supposed to make mistakes. You are supposed to fail at stuff on a regular basis. If you aren't, then the challenge isn't big enough."

Basically I think we need to normalize failure, even celebrate it. Make failure to fail a sort of failure. Like you could ask: "How many times did you fail at something today?"

None? I guess you weren't trying very hard then? You weren't doing anything new?

I found it also helps to play idiot a bit. I see parents who correct their kids too quickly often get insecure kids. Sometimes it is easier to play the moron and ask leading questions. When I watched them build lego I would see my kids make mistakes but instead of correcting them I would pretend to be a bit dense and ask "How come this picture looks different from what you are building? Am I looking at it wrong? I cannot figure this out..."

There seems to be nothing more enjoyable to kids than correcting daddy and showing how much smarter they are than dad.

About the current generation... You realize after a while as a parent, that so much is out of your hands. I couldn't recreate the conditions of my childhood even if I wanted to. Everything about how school works, what friends do, what is on TV, how computer work. Pretty much everything is different and will influence kids differently.

And honestly even if I get nostalgic about the 80s I think quite a lot of things are better today than when I grew up. At least over here in Norway, school environments seems better. Teachers are nicer and things like bullying seems less. More kids get along with each other.

Written by

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

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