Development Of The Child: From Child Failure To Thrive

Development Of The Child: From Child Failure To Thrive

By Donovan Grant

“It’s just not fair!” my daughter yelled aloud. “I can’t pass the driving test so what’s the point in carrying on.” 

She didn’t want to discuss the latest failed driving test attempt. Even her instructor was surprised. She can drive! Everything had been perfect during the driving lessons so there had to be another factor.

The official report had the official terms for the failure:

  • Acting improperly at road junction
  • Driving too slowly
  • Failure to move away correctly from statuary positions

This did not help to solve the puzzle. What can a parent do to help in such a situation? When your teenager gives you that look and says
“I don’t want to talk about it” it is not fair for us to try and force a confession. We just have to wait for the right moment.

I promised my wife that I wouldn’t jump in, but when you’re a father you just want to a child. You just want to ask some questions and try to make a difference. It’s tough to hold back in a situation like this.

Then your mind starts boggling… Could it a confidence issue? Can’t be, I know how many lessons this young lady has taken; she was ready to pass. She is a good driver! So what has caused her to have two driving test failures? This bothered me.

In fact, this is the same young lady who has been on the theatre stage in front of 100’s of people. The same 18 year who passed the interview to be one of the smiling faces of the soon coming London Olympics 2012. The same person who against her teachers’ belief turned ‘D’ grades into ‘B’ grades in French and maths in less than three months. She is not a quitter!

Napoleon Hill summed it up very nicely "every failure brings with it the seed of an equivalent success.”

You’re probably thinking, it’s okay saying that to an adult but how can you explain that to your teenager? Good question!

What do you do when your child ‘fails’ and they say they want to give up?

This is a real tough one for us parents to handle. We know there are a lot of factors that may affect what we do to help them.

Could it be that our children’s growth increases when they go through life’s ordeals? If they can persist and persevere through the struggles, then maybe they will learn valuable lessons for life.

Now we all know how painful it is to watch our children go through any worry. We also know that the #1 thing is the development of the child.

I know that my daughter is a hard working, creative and good looking young lady. Like all teenagers she has moments where she talks back too much, talks back too little and times when she is just an out an out brat!

On the whole though, she is a lovely girl and has always been a fun person for people to meet and be with.

So loving parents always consider “what can I do to turn this around?”

The truth is- our question needs to be “what can I do to help my child to turn this around?”

Let’s remember this- our children have to want to make it happen. If they don’t, we are going against their will. And we all know what Benjamin Franklin said “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Have you ever gone through a challenge, where you needed to raise your child’s belief in them self?

It’s never easy to explain to our children “don’t worry, when you get past this ‘failure’ you will become a stronger person.”

My daughter wrote a poem when she was 15 called “Dot To Dot” and in it she says:

“… if the dots were words, a magnificent story they would tell, of aiming high, inspiring and individuality”

The young lady that God gifted to write that poem is not someone with the seed of giving up; this is someone with the seed of joining the dots and making things happen!

As parents, sometimes we need to look back at strengths our children have used in the past and remind them of what they have done and can do. The more we help a child with encouragement and understanding, the more they will develop their self-esteem.

Before I go off to read “Dot To Dot”, I would like you to ponder on this thought….

What is your child truly capable of when you help them to look at failures as feedback rather than a fault in their ability?

Let’s help our children to develop the way they look at the world!


What do you think? How do you help your child to bounce back from setbacks and obstacles? What tips would you add? Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

Ps. My daughter has given me full permission to publish this article and she has enrolled for a new driving test date.

Donovan Grant is a coach, mentor, blogger, speaker and IT professional who brings his wisdom of parenting for the last 21 years and coaching clients through the stages of raising youth and empowering leaders with life lessons that are changing generations.  He is a passionate and committed leader who believes that we all have the ability to help to change someone else’s life. Actively doing so as a catalyst for many years he teaches how to live a life of success, balance, integrity and fun, whether at work or at play.

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  • Great article Donovan! I have found in my experience that when things don’t “add up” there is usually something in the equation that is missing…and that is when we as parents need to let go and let them have their time and space and trust them to do what we have raised them to do…problem solve! As long as they understand we are there for them should they need us,  we need to allow them to make that choice!

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