How to help children learn resilience through failure

Rachel Simmons, who teaches a "Failing Well" class at Smith College and is the author of "Enough As She Is," reveals what parents should know about teaching resiliency to your children.
4:28 | 06/30/17

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Transcript for How to help children learn resilience through failure
Now to that headline about the power of failure. This has been one of the top stories all week in "The new York Times." So many people are sharing it and it really is resonating so we brought in one of the chief advocates this morning, Rachel Simmons back with us and teaches a class at Smith college called failing well and she's the author of the up coming book "Enough as she is." Please welcome Rachel back to the program. So many people sent me this article and it goes beyond being on the college campus. I know there's a lot of stress there. What is it about failure? Well, I think part of it is that the college thing is an issue. Kids are really worried about getting in and feels to them if I don't do everything perfectly it's all or nothing I won't have a good life. There is a lot of fear with kids but I also think anybody on social media these days and we know kids younger and younger are on it, they're seeing this unlimited stream of perfect images of their friends' lives so they think I can't be anything but perfect and flawless. On top of that you have parents like me who are under pressure to think that our kids have to be spared of failure if we're going to be good parents so all of those things are works together to keep kids out of practice when it comes to failure. I love it that your little one is running around. My 5-year-old is indeed running around. Why do you think it's crucial for parents to talk to their children about failure. Because here's the thing, nobody can succeed if they're afraid of failure. You have to have that muscle. If you don't know how to learn with an unpredictable -- how to learn with an unpredictable situation you won't have that muscle to cope with setbacks. Life is full of challenges and the people who succeed can respond and can be resourceful and are not blown away by every time something doesn't go their way. What do you teach in class, just failing well? What I try to teach them first of all everybody screws up so I tell them about phi failures, there have been many and it's really important for kids to know that adults screw up too because if we don't tell them that they won't come to us when they have a problem and they also won't know how to do it and tell them failing is something you have to practice. You won't wake up and know how to do it. We have a mutual friend Julie foudy and she has been a part of leadership and has a great book out as well and talks about how we all have butterflies but get them to fly in formation. You're not alone in having this fear. Being nervous means that you care. That means you care and also I say to them and every parent should ask this question, what is the worst that can happen? Kids marry are good at catastrof O phizing. Most can. First of all failure is a skill. Skills are like muscles, you got to flex often. Don't go to the gym and lift 50 pounds the first time or throw your kid into the deep end and have them experience an epic fail. They have to go bit by bit so let them fail often in ways that are manageable. Secondly, monitor yourself in terms as a parent. How do you respond to your kid's failure. When our kids are lerring to walk, when your kid is learning to walk and fall on their face, the first thing they do is look at you. Every parent is nodding because they want to know is it okay? And if you go oh, they freak out. But if you say, it's cool, you're good. They keep on going. That doesn't stop. That continues thought their lives. They'll always look at you. On tore yourselfment finally another parent for you, parent tip, handle the way you deal with failure well so if you lose your keys and walk around saying I'm an idiot that's going to teach your kid to do the same. Be kind to yourself when you make a mistake. They're always watching. This is a lesson to learn early because it really does carry on. 100%. 100%. I really appreciate that my parents say they didn't want to catch me when I fell. They wanted to be there to pick me up when I did. It's about taking risks. That's right and doing it together and not doing it for you child but with your child. Where is your little one? Where is she? Right over there. Can we get a -- see there. I know. Well, thank you. Because, you know, Rachel, we often talk about success and this is part of it. You want your little girl to be successful and you have to learn about failure to be. You know what I said if I screw up I'm going to be okay. We're going to deal wit. If I fail on "Good morning America" we'll all move on. You're right about. Rachel, thanks so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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