I got fired the other day, after a whopping two weeks on the job. What I thought would be a great opportunity and perfect career fit, in reality turned out to be a position way beyond my skill set. My boss knew it, I knew it, and next thing I knew, I was out. I felt like a huge failure.
For someone who hadn’t held a full-time “real” job in years, the loss was devastating, and not just for me. My 11-year-old daughter, who had proudly boasted to neighbors about her mom’s “great new job,” seemed as disappointed as I was. My son just seemed angry that somebody would hurt his mom’s feelings.
Watching a parent fail can be hard for kids, who often believe Mom and Dad can do no wrong. And parents can often feel overwhelmed and guilt-ridden about their failures, especially if their kids were really rooting for them to succeed.
But failing at a task, job or goal can actually be a positive learning experience for your kids. Here’s why:
1. It teaches them to try — After 10 years of working out of the house, putting myself “out there” on a job interview, then accepting the offered position, took guts, frankly. Regardless of the outcome, I taught my kids they should always try, and to never be afraid of failure.
2. It shows them how to handle disappointment — I was seriously upset after getting the news I was being let go. I cried a bit, but later calmly explained to my kids that I just wasn’t the right person for the job. They saw it was OK to be upset, and that the job loss wasn’t the end of the world. If Mom could bounce back, then so could they.
3. It shows them how to problem-solve — I told my kids that I had found and applied for a few other positions, days after getting canned. They also saw me attending networking events to make professional connections, and found out I had signed up for a few computer classes to improve my somewhat weak technical skills. I may be down, but I’m not out.
4. It teaches them not to dwell — It’s only been a few days, and I won’t say I’m completely over it, but I’m done moping around. Seeing Mom almost back to her old self will hopefully show them how to lick their wounds and move on when life hands them similar setbacks.
5. It brings them together as a family — I won’t lie; my new position was going to make huge financial improvements to our family’s bottom line, and the kids knew it. Now, we’re back to scrimping, saving and putting off wants in place of filling needs. I know they’re not thrilled, but they know they’ll have to compromise for the good of the family. And how can that be a bad thing?
It’s not easy to make lemonade out of lemons, but your attitude will go a long way in how your kids handle their own failures, both now, and later on in life. Be positive, get back on the horse, and don’t let temporary setbacks become permanent ones.
Other articles by Karen Kinsey:
Is your tween ready to trick-or-treat alone?
5 parenting tips from an elementary school pro
5 surprising results when you ban video games