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Don’t Be Afraid To Fail, Or Tell The Truth

Parenting is hard. It’s amazing and totally worthwhile, but it is hard. Not only do we need to ensure that our children eat healthily, get plenty of rest, stay active, do their best, and use their gifts. We also need to teach them to be good humans! Because ultimately, they will grow up and be out in this world interacting with other people – people that aren’t there to watch out for them like we are. Parenting is hard. And two of the hardest (let’s be honest, there are a lot of hard things to teach our kids) things to teach our kids is how to be honest people, and not to be afraid of failing.


I did my homework. And I cleaned up my room. I cleaned up the dog poop already. Yep, all lies. And, what gets me is that they are unnecessary lies – I’m going to find out you didn’t do these things, so why lie about them?

Kids tell lies because they don’t want to get in trouble, they don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, or they want to make themselves look good. In the case of the lies noted above, the lie was told likely because the chore should have been done already – meaning they didn’t want to get in trouble because they didn’t do the chore.

No dice kid, you are now in trouble for not doing the chore and for lying about it. But how can we help our children learn to put the brakes on lying? Here are a few tips:

  • Reward The Truth: When your child tells the truth, reward and praise them. For example, when you ask the homework question, and they reply that they didn’t do their homework. Thank them for telling the truth (and then give them the nudge to get their homework done).
  • Model The Truth: Again, parenting is hard – if you want your children to be honest. You also need to be honest as well. Kids listen – all the time! If they hear you telling little white lies, they will start to think it is okay and do the same. So, own up to the truth yourself.
  • Give Consequences For Not Telling The Truth: The truth has a way of coming out. We all know this from when we were kids. Well, it’s still true today. And when that truth comes out, there should be consequences for lying. Consequences that demonstrate that you don’t tolerate lying….and that it’s better to tell the truth upfront.
  • Talk About The Importance Of Honesty: Lies can ruin relationships, and kids need to understand this. Have conversations with them about what lying can do to friendships or parent/child relationships. Help them understand that a lie can cause a major lack of trust between two people. That can be hard to repair.
  • Be Open To Hearing Their Truth: The truths that children must tell are not always what we want to hear. But it is important, as parents, to listen to our children and to understand where they are coming from. Creating this type of relationship will help children feel more comfortable telling the truth to their parents.

Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Very few people like failing. Think about it – something goes wrong at work, and it’s because of something you did or didn’t do…not a fun feeling! Kids are no different. But the thing is, kids need to learn that failing isn’t the end of the world and that we can learn from failure. And guess who gets to help teach them that – yep, the parents (seriously, parenting is hard!).

Less than a year ago, my son’s class was participating in a spelling bee. He was all set and super excited, thinking he would be the kid representing his class at the full school spelling bee. Well, he incorrectly spelled his first word and was out in the first round. Heartbreak, tears, and a bit of “I’m not good at spelling” are what followed. Ugh! Hugs and encouraging words came out next. Along with a story about how I lost at the math Olympics in the third grade. I confidently gave the wrong answer to the problem, what is 7×7.


Kids will fail. And they should fail. It helps them become more independent people. And it helps them learn how to pick themselves up and try again (and again, and again). But seeing our kids fail is HARD, so we put a few tips together to help you. Help your child with failures that are bound to come their way.

  • Celebrate The Learning Opportunities: Mistakes and failures happen, but they can be turned into learning opportunities. Talk about what can be learned from the situation, and let your child lead that conversation if possible.
  • Emphasize The Effort:There is only one thing in life you can control: your own effort.” (Mark Cuban). Putting in the work, trying, giving it your all. If that is what your child did, they should be praised for that. Sometimes things just happen or weren’t meant to be. But they should be proud and praised for giving it everything they could.
  • Love Them Unconditionally: Even when they make a mistake, they deserve our unconditional love. This will help them get through the failure a lot faster.
  • Talk About The Worst-Case Scenario: If your child is afraid to even make the attempt, why not talk about the worst thing that could happen if they failed. Sometimes talking through the situation and helping them realize that the outcome of failing isn’t that bad. This will help them decide to take a chance and try.
  • Talk About Success And Failure: If you don’t know Michael Jordan’s story, this would be the time to learn it. He failed. He failed a lot. Instead of letting that failure keep him down, he used it to motivate himself to practice more. Try more, and to drive him to do all the amazing things he has done. So, have a conversation about success. Also let your kids know that there is typically a whole lot of failures leading up to success. And that is ok!

And one more thing to keep in mind – you are not alone. Other parents out there are likely experiencing similar situations with their kids. So, don’t be embarrassed to talk about what you’re going through and bounce ideas off of other parents. Chances are they are in a similar situation. They would love to talk about what’s going on with their kids as well!

Until Next Time

We’ll be back at it next month with more helpful life lessons that kids should learn, and how parents can help them learn them! In the meantime, if you have topics, you’d like us to cover, send us a note at [email protected].