It is important to let children fail


Well that is a title that will bother and upset some people!

As a parent and a teacher I am very, very aware of the intense upset that failure can cause children.  Everyone reading this is without doubt very aware of the upset that failure can adults.

Failure teaches us how to not do things and in doing so eliminates methods that we learn do not work for us.  This is a large part of how evolution works and that seems to have worked out pretty well so far!  Those early humans who thought a sabre tooth tiger looked cuddly failed, those that thought it looked dangerous survived that little bit longer and allowed us to take on there “smarter” genes.


Nowadays there is a definite culture, sometimes of adults, having learnt from the upset of failure themselves that they should protect children from failure.  This does not allow children to learn from mistakes and make their own path to a solution.

As a teacher if I was to try to stop the children in my class from failing all they would learn is that if something looks hard, someone will come along and do it for you.  This is a very dangerous lesson for children to learn and many do, this can be a definite problem in school’s for children who receive a lot of extra support in schools.  They can easily learn to become reliant on the support they are given, they are not given the opportunity to learn from failure and so will not work when the support is there.

As parents we owe it to our children to make mistakes, to learn from failure and to continue to allow us all to grow.

This post is in response to the #ukedchat discussion on children and failure.


8 thoughts on “It is important to let children fail

  1. Great post. Completely agree. Recently our 7 month old has been trying to crawl. Well actually he’s been getting up on all fours and manically rocking for about two months. Sometimes he got really hacked off with not moving forward. If he got distressed we’d rescue him obviously. But otherwise we’d let him try. Because he wanted to try. He was learning. And on Monday he suddenly put out his little hands and crawled. I honestly think if we hadn’t let him fail he wouldn’t have succeeded. #failbetter as we say these days!


  2. My middle daughter is a perfectionist which is really stressful! When she makes a mistake she just freaks and is terrified that she didn’t get everything right. We’re really trying to encourage her that you have to make mistakes to be able to really learn and understand things. I think it’s sinking in but it’s an uphill struggle!


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