Whatsapp Chat
Get in touch NOW! Send us a message and the Shiminly team will contact you within 24 hours.

Recent Posts

Fear of Failure

Ways to Help Your Child Overcome the Fear of Failure

Written by Rhea-Leigh O’Shea

21st June 2022

The fear of failure is an unpleasant experience that many of us are all too familiar with. It affects confidence and performance in school, and even as adults many of us still fear failing. Yet, if we can better understand this fear, we can show children that failure is a crucial part of life. And it doesn’t have to be a negative, which will ruin their lives or prevent them from succeeding in the future. Instead, by undertaking six key stages we can break down the fear of failure. (1) We can lessen stress by having honest and open conversations about what failure means. (2) Show kids how to have a less rigid mindset. (3) Offer them support. (4) Allow them to fail so that they can learn from these experiences. (5) Help set realistic goals. And finally, (6) make them into problem-solvers and more resilient adults in the process. These six stages will prepare kids for future challenges. Showing them how to harness aspects of failure in a way that is positive for their academic and adult lives.


  1. Be Open about Failure and Success

Firstly, we need to understand that we are often fearful of failure due to our how others view us. This can then affect how we view ourselves (Covington, 1984). We gain our ideas about academic success or failure from images online and in the media. Popular culture often shows images of a successful student with a great social life. In reality, navigating the education setting (at any age or level) can be fraught with stress and anxiety. This is a test for both students and their guardians. We should be happy and celebrate those who perform well, but we should also know that people have very different challenges in life skills. Many of us know (from our own experiences in education) that academic success is more complicated. It involves a lot of the student’s time and effort, combined by hours of encouragement and support from their parents (Chohan & Khan, 2010. P14). Our different life experiences mean that we should then, not expect all students to follow the same path with the exact same goals. We need to speak openly to students about their concerns and see what goals they have. Open dialogue and letting a child speak freely is one of the easiest ways of supporting a child and their education. We might find they have different goals and ideas of success to what we want for them. A clear understanding of this is important. It allows us to listen to the child, which will relieve much of their anxiety.

Fear of Failure

  1. Mindset is Essential

After establishing the child’s views on success and failure, we may need to change our own views. Firstly, how we measure success is a complicated task. The previous example of a high-achieving student doesn’t always reveal the effort behind gaining such good grades. The importance of effort needs emphasizing, as applying yourself and working hard is one factor we need to encourage in all students. Yet, we shouldn’t have a rigid idea of this, nor should we have fixed ideas about a student’s intellect and ability. Mindset plays a role in how we approach this. Dweck (2006) explains that people either have a ‘fixed mindset’ where people believe these basic qualities are static and cannot be changed, whilst others have a ‘growth mindset’ where intelligence, personality, and abilities can be developed. Inkeri Rissanen et. al (2019) explains how important it is for adults (especially educators) to understand differences in mindset. They explain that adults can help children not to rely on their obvious talents. Instead, they show it’s also possible to develop a student’s less obvious skills through workshops, allowing for success in areas they also find a challenge.

Fixed Mindset

  1. Support Despite the Outcomes

Regardless of academic outcomes, we must support children if we want to limit anxiety and allow the student to reach their full potential. Chohan & Khan (2010, p.14) explain that parents can have a positive influence on their kids’ education. These achievements are often a result of supportive parents, who “are in a unique position to help, since their kids naturally rely on them for reassurance and protection.” (Hicklin, 2019; Chohan & Khan, 2010) We should make every effort to support kids and nurture their academic achievements as they grow. Yet, we are also warned about the dangers of micromanaging children. As parents may “lessen their anxiety at the time, they can also prevent the child from learning how to deal with their worries on their own as they get older.” (Hicklin, 2019) Essentially, there is a complex balance in letting the child feel supported. But, also leaving enough space for the child to make their own choices and deal with problems in a positive way.

Fear of Failure

  1. Failure is an Option!

Even as adults, we don’t always succeed first time in every job promotion, driving test or exam. Yet, we preserver and attempt things again. Yes, it might be frustrating at times, but many of us understand it’s an important part of life and it’s how we deal with this negativity that defines us as people. We need to show children that they can make mistakes and failure is not a reason to give up. Cullins (2017) explains the positive impact that delayed wins can have for children. She suggests that this will serve to build their confidence and encourage them to approach new challenges. Further, this process lessens children’s fear and removes much of the negativity linked to failure. Dweck (2006) explains the benefits to encouraging children for their effort. As despite making mistakes, the kids were more willing to attempt harder tasks than those who were only praised for their ability. These discoveries show us that we should encourage children not to fixate on intellect. They should enjoy the learning process and attempt difficult tasks. Dweck (2006) explains that this is more important for their long-term goals. For some of us, we need to re-learn that not all failure is negative. As when supported by parents and teachers, it can be a positive influence in a child’s life and not something we need to fear.

Failure is an Option!

  1. Have Realistic Goals

If we are to face our fears of academic failure, both adults and children need to be realistic about educational goals. Also, we need to realize the time and effort needed to successfully achieve these. We want to prevent kids using what Covington (1984) calls ‘failure avoiding tactics’. This is where students create such difficult conditions that success is improbable. This type of approach is a form of self-defence, but it doesn’t allow the student to address tasks in realistic terms. As mentioned before, kids should feel supported by the adults around them. We should have open conversations about failure (thus, lessening this fear). Further, they should feel free to make mistakes during what are their formative years (Cullins, 2017). Students can then be accountable, applying their skills in a ‘safe’ setting (i.e. not the adult world) – which allows for plenty of chances to fail and succeed. Understanding this can address their worries in realistic ways. This helps students see how their own actions can be play a big role in their academic outcomes (Covington, 1984; Dweck, 2006).

Have Realistic Goals

  1. Self-Compassion

Being kind is something most of us do daily, but many of us should probably be a bit kinder when thinking about ourselves. We’ve already found out that behind our fear of failure is how we see ourselves and how others accept us (Covington, 1984). Unfortunately, we cannot control what others think, so perhaps we should start with how we view ourselves. Kristin Neff (2009) advises us to use ‘Self-Compassion’. This focuses on self-kindness, rather than self-judgment as “Common humanity involves recognizing that all humans are imperfect, fail and make mistakes.” (Neff, 2009, p.212) So we shouldn’t link our self-worth with our results. Our imperfections are what connect us as people and are a crucial part of life. Further, these ideas tell us to be more accepting of our outcomes as it is almost impossible to avoid some sort of failure in life. As Covington (1984, p.12) explains, success is not always possible and “when failure does occur – as it will inevitably – it can be particularly devastating since it occurs despite high effort”. Such ideas clarify that even when we try very hard, it can be very disappointing when we don’t get the results that we want. We need to be ready for when our hard work isn’t always enough. And this is when we need to be more understanding and less critical of ourselves. Research shows this to have a positive impact. As people who are more self-compassionate, tend to recover quicker from failure as they “do not berate themselves when they fail, they are more able to admit mistakes, modify unproductive behaviors and take on new challenges” (Neff, 2009, p.213). Thus, through teaching children about the benefits of being nicer to ourselves, we can show them skills that will benefit them in the future.

We have found out that there are 6 key stages when overcoming the fear of failure. Firstly, we should have open and honest conversations about failure and what this means to each child. We can explain ideas of mindset. In particular, how there are different qualities other than just intellect. We can avoid micromanaging yet support children; and allow them to fail when they are younger and learn how this isn’t something we need to fear. Further, we can help kids learn how to set their own realistic goals and show the effort needed to achieve these. Finally, kids need to attempt tasks in a way that is self-compassionate. This will make them more resilient and confident students, who are able to understand some of the advantages of failure. Further, this will help kids to understand that we shouldn’t fear failure. As it doesn’t have to negatively impact their confidence and performance. Instead, it can even help make more confident students, who embrace challenges and help prepare kids to be well-adjusted adults in the future.


Rhea-Leigh O’Shea been a teacher since 2011. I have worked in Argentina, Italy, Sweden, Spain and throughout the United Kingdom. I have a Master’s in Global Political Science from Malmo University, Sweden.

Teach with Shiminly!

Thank you for your interest in working with Shiminly! Please answer each question in as much detail as you can. You will not be penalized for not answering optional questions. After successful submission of this form, your CV, and your cover letter, Shiminly will contact you about moving on to the interview stage. * Required
General Info *
Please indicate your general teaching experience. *

Please choose all that apply.

Level of Education *
What are your current teaching qualifications?*

Request Callback



Chris is from Devon, in the south of England. He has been teaching English as a foreign language for over six years and has taught in China, the UK, Hungary and Spain. He has a background in Music and studied Composition at the RSAMD in Glasgow, Trinity Laban in London and at the University of York. After finishing his master’s at York, he travelled to China to teach and fell in love with it. He has been teaching ever since.

GDPR and Privacy Policy

European Union GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations)

The EU GDPR is designed to help all of us have more control over our personal data, and how is it used.

Who does the information GDPR apply to?

Data subjects, being all visitors and users of any website who are members of the European Union, and therefore who submit personal data. [replace name]  is the data processor and data controller of this site. You can find out more about this law here.

Privacy Policy

Effective from 25th May, 2018

This Privacy Policy sets out how we use and protect information that you may provide when you use this website.  Your privacy is protected and important to us. If you provide identifiable personal information it will only be used to help us fulfil your project requirements.

[replace name]  is the company who collects any personal data submitted through [replace url] 

We may update this policy periodically, please check this page to ensure that you are in agreement with any changes.

What We Collect

Personal information, basically any data that can be used to identify or contact you is collected so we can service your requirements.  This could include your name, business name, address details, email, telephone numbers, or information pertaining to your exhibition stand requirements. You may also at times be asked to leave a message about your enquiry or project brief. Websites also collect your IP address through the use of Cookies (find out more about cookies below).

If you opted-in to our mailing list, you may receive occasional emails on important updates or service information. You have the right to opt-out or and have any personal details removed at any time, please email [replace email address]

What We Do With The Information We Collect

Information is saved until the enquiry is dealt with, and then archived with the project or on cloud based systems if you are an ongoing client. We also retain your contact details and information in the emails you have sent, but you can request to have your personal details deleted at any time.

We will not sell, distribute, or lease your personal information to third parties unless we have your express permission, or are required by law to do so. We may use your personal information to send you relevant information about services we offer, or information you need as part of the services we offer.

Data Security

In our continued commitment to ensuring that your information is secure and to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure, we have suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures in place to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.

  • Data is stored on a secure cloud-based server or on a secure, password protected computer with limited user access.
  • Sending information over the internet is generally not completely secure, and we can’t guarantee the security of your data while it’s in transit. Any data you send is at your own risk.
  • We have procedures including 2FA, passwords, restricted access and other security features in place to keep your data secure once we receive it.
  • [replace name]  will NEVER pass on your personal data to third parties without first getting your explicit consent.

Controlling your personal information

You may choose to restrict the collection or use of your personal information in the following ways:

  • Whenever you are asked to fill in a form on the website, look for the box that you can click to indicate that you do not want the information to be used for direct marketing purposes
  • If you have previously opted-in to a mailing list, or provided other information, you can find out what information we hold, and ask us to remove or not to use any of it, by writing to, or emailing [replace email address]
  • You may request details of personal information which we hold about you.
  • If you believe that any information we are holding on you is incorrect or incomplete, please write to, or email us as soon as possible at [replace email address]  We will promptly correct any information.

Google Analytics

User and Event Data Retention

User-level and event-level data associated with Google Analytics cookies is retained for 14 months and then automatically deleted.

IP Anonymization

I have implemented IP Anonymization, simply put, the last three digits of your IP address are set to zeros in memory shortly after being sent to the Analytics Collection Network. The full IP address is never retained, or written to disk.


This site also uses Cookies, find out more or manage them here.