How to Fight Failure At School


  1. Fear of either failure or success 
  2. How to overcome these fears
  3. Lack of motivation and preparation
  4. How can you fight failure & help your child thrive academically?

When you’re a school kid, you’ll have to do things that you may not like and may even fail at. So how can parents, teachers and students combat the fear of failure itself?

When we set out to do something, we like to believe that we will absolutely succeed. And as adults, we tend to only take on tasks that we’re guaranteed to do well in. Otherwise what’s the point, right? Nobody wants to fail or under-achieve. But when you’re a school kid, it’s not that simple. You'll often end up having to do things you’re not good at and may even fail at. 




Fear of either failure or success 


Failure is crucial to learning. But for students who find themselves failing frequently, it’s more than a few mistakes here and there. Frequent failure is commonly rooted in fear – both of failure, and of success.

Some kids are unable to overcome simple small failures and are left feeling like they won’t ever succeed. These few unexpected smaller failures lead them to believe they will never achieve so they stop trying.

This is a fear of failure, and it can show up in both students who are generally “overachievers” and those who generally don’t do very well academically. 

The opposite is the fear of succeeding. This is a less common fear, but equally as sinister. It shows up in students who may need to take on more responsibility if they were to succeed. They fear this as it may be life-altering and they’d rather remain within their comfort zone. 


How to overcome these fears? 


Failure is necessary for success, so understanding this is the first step in the process of overcoming it. Another key step in managing fear of failure is to create healthy habits around it.

For example, how does your child manage the stress associated with school work? Making a habit out of appropriate and routine stress management such as exercise or meditation will help to resolve these feelings when they arise. And resolving stress clears the way for focus and motivation, the keys to accomplished learning.


Lack of motivation & preparation 


Unfortunately, in the main-stream schooling system not liking a subject doesn’t mean a thing, you still have to do it. Yet in the same breath, being forced to take a subject you don’t enjoy is not exactly the way to breed motivation.

When unmotivated, students may develop an apathetic attitude towards their school work and believe that their success doesn’t matter. It’s up to teachers, mentors and parents to pick up on and work to change this before it results in lack of preparation for tests or failure to complete school work. 


How can you fight failure & help your child thrive academically? 


Compassion is crucial 🤗

Encourage your child to process their shortcomings and allow themselves to heal from it. Ask them what they’ve learnt from their failures, how they think they can change their approach to learning, and how they will treat themselves the next time they fail, because that will happen again at some point. Teach them that making mistakes is only human and that they’re better for having learnt something in the process. 

Elevate their attitude to change their mind 👏

Changing their mind about a certain subject or class may prove rather difficult. But with a bit of encouragement and a lot of practice, they can learn to be resilient regardless of their future failures. Create an affirmation that they can use as positive reinforcement for when they’re feeling stressed about the outcome of their tests or assignments. 

More of our top tips for overcoming failure: 

  • Be kind to your child who is struggling academically. In doing so you’ll teach them to be kind to themselves.
  • Work out some trackable goals. Sit together and write out a list of the areas they’re finding difficult and subjects that they don’t quite enjoy. Turn these into measurable goals and track their progress on a weekly basis.
  • Keep track of academic deadlines. For students who lack motivation, it’s easy to let things slip when no one is watching. This behaviour leads to failure and can be avoided when you're aware of their academic deadlines, as well as test and assignment schedules.
  • Ask for help. There are after school programmes that can help with improving academics. Alternatively, you should consider hiring a tutor to work with your child on their problem areas. 

Failure can be scary. But it’s a fact of life and something your child will overcome. GoStudent Tutors are equipped to help children across the learning spectrum. Book your free trial session today and see for yourself! 

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