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Fail Fast Gifted Children: Parenting for Resilience

By Brandi Maynard.


The phrase "fail fast" is frequently used in business and startups, but it can also be used to raise resilient gifted children. When parents encourage failure as an option, we are not accepting the idea of failure as the final outcome, rather encouraging children to try new things, take risks, and learn from their mistakes in order to grow and develop.


Think of failing fast like learning to cook. First, you try out new recipes, then you try variations to those recipes with different methods of preparation, and you employ your family to give you feedback. You learn what works, and what doesn’t, tweak the recipes and try again until you get it right. Rather than giving up, you hope to fail quickly in order to get the information you need to improve your recipes each time.


Fear of failure is something we have all experienced, and the idea of “failing fast” seems counterintuitive. Contrary to that belief, allowing children to fail when the stakes are low reframes failure as an opportunity to grow and as a valuable steppingstone for achieving goals. Here are some additional ideas parents should keep in mind as they allow their children to fail:

  1. Embrace experimentation: Failing fast provides the joy of trying new things without the expectation that it is going to turn out perfectly. Embracing experimentation allows gifted children to relax and become playful in the way that they take on new tasks rather than expecting that everything they do the first time is going to turn out exactly as planned.

  2. Set realistic goals: Unrealistic goals are more likely to lead to failure. When we teach children to set realistic goals and help them focus on the process of learning rather than the product or outcome, they will learn how to do this for themselves when a grownup is not around to help.

  3. Learn from failure: Teaching children that failure leads to success is an important lesson. When caring adults in their lives help them reflect on their mistakes and process the learning from the experience, it can help prevent future failures and will lead to more resilient adults.

  4. Seek out a supportive environment: Children need support at home, but they also need at least one caring adult whom they trust to help them navigate both failure and success.

When gifted children have a few failures under their belt, they will feel safer trying new things, taking risks, and learning from their mistakes. As caring adults, this entails giving them the freedom to take risks and experience setbacks in a setting where the stakes are low, such as a classroom or at home. Parents who adopt this mindset recognize the significance of failure in learning, development, and growth. They also think that instead of discouraging kids from taking chances and trying new things, they should be allowed to make mistakes early and learn from them.


Parents who promote the idea of failing fast can also help children develop strategies for coping with failure and bouncing back from setbacks in order to develop the resilience to adversity and handle challenges with grace. Parenting a gifted child is like navigating a winding road, and having a coach who understands the twists and turns can make all the difference in helping your child reach their infinite potential. Check out our services at www.giftedresources.com and subscribe to our YouTube Channel for more relevant and engaging content.


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Brandi founded Gifted Resources where she coaches gifted children and their parents to improve academic, social and emotional, and executive functioning skills. In addition to being a passionate learner, Brandi loves people and delights in walking alongside them in their learning journey. When it comes down to it, the joy of life is found in sharing stories, ideas, and laughter with those around us! When Brandi is not working, you'll find her riding dirt bikes in the Pacific Northwest mountains, relaxing by the campfire on her property near the river, or relaxing with a good book in a hammock. Check out her website at www.giftedresources.com or email her at drb@giftedresources.com

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