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9 Lessons to teach your kids about success and failure

Kia Morgan Smith is a popular mommy blogger at where she blogs about her life as a mom of five children and wife.

Disappointment doesn't have an age limit. It will constantly come and go in life, and I try to teach my kids that everything won't come their way as smoothly and as easily as a Christmas toy under a tree does.

mother talking with daughter

This past Christmas, my kids got everything they asked for. But then, I could see an air of entitlement come over them when my 9-year-old quickly started laying out her demands for her January birthday present. It was as if I hadn't just dropped a load of money on her tablet — a gift that I'm sure is not normally reserved for a kid her age. Add to that the fact that my other kids were breaking their toys by day's end, probably because it's hard to appreciate things when they're given to you so easily.

This got me thinking that my kids will really have a hard time outside of the home when they face life, because we all know that life is tough. This means that I need to teach them about rewards and disappointments as well as about successes and failures in life. All kids need to learn how to deal with it when things don't go their way or when they don't get what they want.

As a kid, I can remember never being chosen to be a safety monitor at school. Major disappointment. I really wanted to be in charge of directing the other kids down the hall and giving out tardy passes. I was really mad, and I didn't know how to handle that disappointment in any way other than just being mad. Even as an adult, I have been disappointed at times when I didn't land a certain job or campaign, thinking I was the better candidate. Disappointment doesn't have an age limit. It will constantly come and go in life, and I try to teach my kids that everything won't come their way as smoothly and as easily as a Christmas toy under a tree does. Kids need to know that whatever disappointments and failures come their way, they'll need to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and make the most of it!

Here are nine common phrases that you should teach your kids to help prepare them for failures and successes in life:

  1. "If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it or work around it." — Michael Jordan. He's best known as an NBA basketball star who won major championships, but he also failed just as much as he won. The secret here is to learn from failure and figure out how to win.
  2. "Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty." — Theodore Roosevelt
  3. Learn from your mistakes. This is key to keeping your child from repeating the same mistake over and over.
  4. The worst they can do is say no. Having someone say no to you may hurt inside, but there's no physical pain involved and no reason to be afraid of someone saying it. It's going to happen to your kids, perhaps more than they know.
  5. Practice makes perfect. Kids need to know that becoming a pro at something takes time and lots of practice! These days, kids want success instantaneously, but it usually takes years of hard work to reach a goal.
  6. "You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take." — Wayne Gretzky. The lesson here is that you've got to give good effort to succeed.
  7. Never give up. Your kids will really muster up mental toughness once they learn to keep trying no matter what.
  8. "It's like breathing — once you quit, your flame dies letting total darkness extinguish every last gasp of hope." — Richelle E. Goodrich in Smile Anyway. Give it all you've got and don't give up just because things don't come easily.
  9. "Success is not in never failing, but rising every time you fall!" — Jonathan Taylor Thomas. This is an important lesson to teach your kids. You must hold your head up, rise up and keep moving!
As the adage goes, anything worth having takes work. And as long as you plant these seeds of success in your kids early on, they will learn patience and appreciation.
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