Encouraging Foster Children: Conquering the Fear of Failure
When you look back to your childhood, you can probably pick out very specific things that scared you, such as clowns or being in a dark room. While those things still scare children today, a new fear is climbing its way to the top – the fear of failure. No one wants to fail at anything, but as humans, it’s an inevitable part of life. This notion rings even truer for foster children, who have seen failure on its grandest scale – parents failing to properly care for their own. With all they have been through, it’s particularly important to understand why they have this fear and how you can encourage your own foster child to conquer it.
Why Foster Children Need Encouragement to Conquer the Fear of Failure
Children deal with fear everyday and can find it difficult overcome these fears, no matter how trivial they might be. Foster children often have to find a way to fit in with a new group of friends. They may not think, for example, that the group will want to hang out with someone who can’t play a certain sport. The fear of failing to be successful at the sport can lead to your foster child to find it easier not to try at all and avoid potential embarrassment.
The need for parental approval goes much deeper than the need to fit in, as there is a likelihood that the child, prior to being in your care, never received any sign of approval. Taking the time to reflect on his past may help you understand why your foster child has a fear of failure. It can also help you determine how to help him overcome his fear. We all know how a little encouragement can go a long way in helping you achieve your goals.
Encouraging Foster Children Past the Fear of Failure
When it comes to encouraging your foster child and helping him get over his fear of failure, you may have to take a different approach than you would for another child. While helping your foster child overcome his fear of failure may seem like an enormous task, it can be broken into these four easy to implement approaches.
- Share a time that you failed. This will show him you’re not perfect either. Talk about how you responded to the failure and what you took away from it. Doing so will show him that the person he looks up to is just like him and not an unachievable model of perfection.
- Redefine failure. Teach him that if he learned something from the experience, he didn’t fail. Failure can be one of the best sources for personal growth. Explain that he can take what he learned and apply it to what he wants to achieve. Teach him that success is about playing the game, not winning it.
- Compliment the effort. Talk to your foster child about the courage it took to try what he did. Don’t focus on the end result but rather on the journey. This will help him develop his self-esteem, which will lead to him gaining the courage to compete with his peers.
- Build his confidence. Give him smaller, simpler challenges to build his confidence to the point where he is comfortable enough to take on larger ones. Encourage him the same way on all projects –no matter the size — to show that you’re there for him and proud of all of his efforts.
By encouraging foster children who have been through trauma, abuse or neglect, you’re providing them with the confidence and self-worth they need to succeed. By showing them that failure is just an opportunity to grow, you’re opening the door for them to try new things and find their passion in life. It is through your love, compassion and support that your foster child will overcome his fear of failure and reach his full potential.
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