I don’t like the word FAIL!


I was having a conversation yesterday with a lovely lady around FAILURE and how we fear it and she was telling me about the impact Fear of Failure has had on her life and that she would be told off when she was a child for FAILING or getting things wrong!

The thing I find fascinating about our thoughts, beliefs and values Is that they are mostly developed in our childhood. We can take on other peoples beliefs and grow up believing that they are ours! Which means that your children (wether you’re a carer, parent or teacher ) can take on your beliefs which Is why It Is so important to take care with how you speak to your children and to empower them and help them to make decisions and to let children and young people know that It Is OK to make mistakes!

The Emoji Coach programmes that we run in schools or even when working individually with a child show children that It Is Ok to FAIL or as we say, LEARN.

The Acronym for Fail Is



first attempt in learning

And this Is a key message we get across in The Emoji Coach as well as with my own children. When my daughter saw this in my office she wrote It down and stuck it on her mirror. The 1st time I saw It there I asked her about It and she told me that when she saw the acronym was First attempt in learning It took a huge pressure off her shoulders and felt relief and saw Failure In a totally new way.

If ever there Is spilt milk or broken plates the attitude Is, Ok, I’ll learn from that and do It differently next time!
Or with school exams, I’ll now know how to revise next time which will work better for me.


If we don’t make mistakes we won’t learn and grow!



So many parents focus on all the good things that children succeed in and tell them how wonderful they are when they do something thats great! And yes, that Is great so keep on doing that as It does help them to feel good about themselves and yet when we only focus on how amazing they are when they do really well in something that then puts pressure on them or they put pressure on themselves to keep on doing that and can be down when they feel they haven’t done well or If they think they’ve failed.

When I see children coming out of school or nursery I sometimes see them instantly holding up there work for the mums, dads or carers to see what amazing work they have done and again that Is wonderful as the reaction from parents or carers makes the child feel good. If a child doesn’t think there work Is any good they can be sad and feel low and not want to show there work and so this then has a knock on affect and brings the confidence and self esteem down low.


A couple of tips to help your child see that to Fail Is just a FIRST ATTEMPT IN LEARNING.

When picking up from school/nursery, greet your child with a huge smile or hug first and a chat of “how are you,” or “have you had a good day?” then look at their work to see what they have done so you are showing them that you love them unconditionally and they are important.

If your child does something wrong or feel that they’ve failed in some way, behaviour wise or school work wise or hobby wise rather than allowing them to feel that, or trying to say the right thing to make them feel better , explain to them that It’s Ok to get things wrong thats how we learn.

You can ask them:

What could you have done differently?

What can you do differently or want to do differently next time?

If your child isn’t happy about some work or pictures they’ve done:

What do you feel you want to do to make It look better? How do you want to look ?

Use the word want rather than need as need automatically puts the pressure on.


Let your children see you make mistakes and that you see It as as learning process. If I do something wrong I say rather than saying “I’m stupid or have a bad memory or I’m silly” I say “aren’t I funny I’ve forgotten to do……”

If something doesn’t go well then I say “ok, I will look at how I can do this differently”



Remember Its great that both ourselves and our children  make mistakes that means we’re learning and growing!




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