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Fear of Failure Among Students : What Should Parents Do?

student anxiety“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can choose to rule the world.” –Nelson Mandela

We all want our kids to have bright future and good life ahead of them. We work hard so we can send them to good school, do everything to provide their needs, and even sacrifice if needed just to give them the quality education.

Our children try to do their best to return our sacrifices. But let’s face it. You’ve been there too, and it’s not that easy. We see college as our children’s door to success. Where they can start planning and building their dreams. A place where they can be themselves, meet people, learn and have fun. While our children probably thinks the same way, they may also have an idea of school that we haven’t thought of. For them, school could be a big jenga puzzle. A single wrong move could send their dreams to a big tumbling mess.

We’re all afraid of failing. That’s a very common truth. Being afraid of failing is as natural as being afraid of death. This fear, however, could lead to anxiety among students. This is not a rare case, and is in fact common among students (especially in higher education).

How do we prevent this from happening and protect our child from serious anxiety?

1. Have a clear idea of what they’re afraid of – It varies from person to person. One child could be afraid of  getting scolded by parents if seen with a failing grade. It could be the pressure of having other family members who are ‘achievers’ and would like to live up to expectations. It could be because of the desire to have a better life someday. There are several possible reasons, and it’s important to identify which is it. It could be one, or two at the same time.

2. Help and support them – You don’t have to be a professor to help them with school. Encourage them to join orgs and have good friends in school. Offer you house as a meeting place for school projects. Show that you will always be there to help achieve their goals. You don’t have to tutor them and answer their assignments, but simply providing their needs can be of big help.

3. Explain that a couple of C’s or D’s cannot define who you are as a person. It is not okay to have failing grades. But you can always retake and do better next time. Life doesn’t end when you get an F. All you have to do is start over, and make sure that you’ll get it right next time.

4. Have a clear definition of punishment – Getting punished doesn’t mean you’re going to abandon your children. Explain it to them. A punishment is a way to teach and encourage them to do better and learn from mistakes. Of course, if there’s punishment, there should also be a prize. Make sure that they understand, and that the punishments are reasonable.

5. Talk – Always ask them about school in a very nice and friendly way. This is best established early in life while they’re still in pre-school. Ask them about their difficulties, their favorite subject, their least favorite.


Nothing beats good relationship with your children. The main goal is to make them feel that whatever happens, you will always be there to support them.


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