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Failure Lessons|24 August 2022

A case study about a child who failed and succeeded eventually

Written by Nivedita Garg
Founder of Joyful Parenting, NLP practisioner, YALE, Hardvard & UC San Diego certified personal coach with over 10 Years of experience in helping individuals beat stress and lead joyful lives

As a parenting coach, I often come across parents who find it difficult to raise their kids in their formative years including instilling in them life preparation lessons for their journey ahead. One of the most common problem that the parents face today is teaching their kids accept failure as a part of life. 

Well, success and failure are two sides of the same coin. But why failure is an indispensable part of life? Can children overcome this? Let’s understand this through a case study.

Background

Parents of a seven-year-old Rudra, approached me saying their child was not performing well in academics nor he was able to make any friends. Added to their worries was his frustration and rude behaviour. So we set up a meeting and here’s what happened. 

Rudra was a curious young boy, who entered my cabin looking at the vivid colours around him with such awe.  It took me a second to notice the wall around me, which I ignored and found boring, hence never paid attention to. Unlike Rudra who was busy admiring the new surroundings, his parents found it annoying and hushed him to sit in front of me and greet me good evening.  This was when I started noticing how the parents felt about him. Their inability to understand him had forced them to stick with traditional learning methods and expectations from their child.

Expectations & requirements

According to Rudra’s parents, he was not just failing in exams but was also failing to learn from his mistakes. After my conversation with them, I understood that for them Rudra scoring 4/10 everytime was an embarrassment. Their immediate expectation from Rudra was to score 7 or 8 atleast. 

Approach & findings

We had long discussions, where they explained his behaviour and characteristics, and I immediately jumped saying, “he’s a GENIUS.” I told them to give me 3 months with their son, and I can prove it to them.

Rudra lived in a tough world with unrealistic expectations from him. Unfortunately for him, no one understood him, and called him peculiar and a failure. However, my interactions with him made me realise that he was very well aware of his concepts and used his logical reasoning to understand and process the information he received. This is when I realised where the gap was! His way of learning was different from the others and his parents & school were not prepared to handle the change in learning styles. I used the concept of Multiple Intelligences (discussed in detail in my previous article), love languages and emotional quotient to decode this genius to his family.

His highest intelligence was his naturalistic intelligence. He was a nature lover and so we used nature to teach him concepts. When I started with basic math, I realised he knew things but could not apply his knowledge in terms that the school understood. So we used rocks, flowers , and butterflies to help him teach the concepts. We then checked his general knowledge by looking at the patterns in nature making him learn about the differences and  similarities in nature. We used nature to guide him and help him cope with school. Also, he was made aware about the importance of socialising and making friends. 

We visually saw a bee hive, and explained how this works in the animal kingdom. We saw videos on dolphins communicating to explain how clear & sharp communication makes the dialogue effective. Next, we moved along his emotional side.  His “love tank” needed to filled a bit more, so we did the Gary Champans Love Languages quiz and used that to build a healthier bond with his family. We explained to them that he feels love differently from you and once you both speak the same love language, you will work better together and have a happier bond. 

We used music, meditation and art therapies in our sessions too. This allowed him to express his dark emotions which subsequently made him feel lighter. To work on his anger issues, we used anger management techniques. I explained to Rudra’s parents that it’s okay for anyone to get angry sometimes since it’s a normal human emotion. We agreed to give him space to let him express his feelings to his parents about what’s troubling him.

I also explained them not to focus on his negative behaviour only. For instance, they don’t have to focus on the times he’s troubling them, but try to praise him when he works hard & puts in efforts. To promote this behaviour, parents need to use encouraging words so children feel they are seen for this too. 

This case reiterated to me again that every child is a GENIUS. They just need the right environment to bloom. We can’t expect a rose to bloom in the desert or a cactus to bloom in darkness. It’s just about understanding the child first, and then enhance their abilities. So no one is a failure actually, they just haven’t got the platform that suits them.

Results

After our 3 months together, Rudra &  his [arents felt happier. He had made a new friend and his anger issues declined significantly. Any guesses on what his average score had come to? Well, you’ll have to keep reading for that. 

As parents you can take help of coaches like us to understand your child’s capabilities and intelligences. Then use that to help them grow and excel in their lives. You need to break out of the social conditioning of what children must do or that your child is not good enough as compared to your friends’ children. Each child is different and you need to respect them for who they are. Failure in one area does not mean that they’re a failure. 

As Albert Einstein quotes “ Everybody is a genius, but if you expecta a fish to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it’s life is a failure.”

As parents, the journey won’t be an easy one. However, it’s your job to bring out the best in your children and help them live a worthy life. Make children responsible rather than reliable on you. If they don’t get up on time for school, teach them to set the alarm and get up themselves. If they miss a day, let them! 

This way, they will learn to face consequences for their mistakes. Allow them to cry, fall, have fights and breakouts. This is what will equip them to handle life. Protective parenting only hampers their growth, even though we think it’s for their good. So remember your child is a genius and allow them their space and provide them with an enriching environment that suits them and see great results.

In case, you’re still wondering about Rudra’s scores, that boy made us all proud by scoring an average of 7/10 consistently in his school.

The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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