Dive into the blog to learn all about different strategies to support your girls, build their confidence, and help them embrace the idea of 'community over competition' while they're young!   Plus, since we know that our girls are watching our every move (!!), how can we not talk about things like self-care and personal growth?   We're all in this together, mama!


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Confident Girls, Our Girls, Raising Daughters

July 14, 2020


And why you should let your daughters fail too.

Turning failure into success and building confidence in young girls is one surefire way to stop the overwhelm and anxiety of girlhood from creeping in and taking hold.

“I’ve failed.  A lot!  And so will you.”

Ok, maybe not the best way to start a conversation with a 9-year-old!!   But it was an honest moment.

We were talking about the hard work it takes to achieve something you really want and that good things don’t always come easily.  It might look like it from the outside, but behind the success there’s not only hours upon hours of dedication and hard work, there may also be a lot of failure, tears, late nights, and frustration. 

This is a tough one.  In today’s socially connected world full of filtered, air-brushed feeds, it can look like people have it all – and got it at the click of a button.  Why don’t people talk more about failures?  Or about the times they made a fool of themselves?  I think it can probably be summed up with 3 little letters: E-G-O.   And we are all guilty of this at one time or another.  We don’t want others to know we fail!  But WHY?!   This is a dangerous reality to portray, setting our kids up for overwhelm and disappointment.  When our daughters grow up in a world in which they think they not only need to accomplish ‘all the things,’ but to do it without failure or hard work – then we have a problem.

The reality is – failure WILL happen!  It’s how we handle failure that makes or breaks us.

So, let’s dish about some failures. How about the time I tried so hard but couldn’t for the life of me straddle over the pommel horse in gymnastics? Embarrassing fail. Never did learn! Or when I had to take my maroon-colored swimming badge 3 times and still failed? Ugh. Or maybe the time in grad school when my professor told me I had made an ‘egregious’ error on my paper? I didn’t even know what he meant. I asked my friends and they didn’t know either, so we huddled over my computer and looked it up. Turns out, apparently, it was an “extraordinarily bad; flagrant; glaring” error. In the moment, it felt like complete failure but my friends and I got some great laugh-so-hard-your-stomach-hurts moments out of that one for years.

How do my failures make me a better mom? Because I’ve learned that successes are built on failures. No matter what your age. Read that again.

Successes are built on failures. No matter what your age.

– Alison Sherley
  • I didn’t make the team I practiced so hard for.
  • I didn’t get that role I rehearsed for hours on end.
  • I didn’t land the job I desperately wanted.
  • I didn’t get the raise I thought I deserved.
  • I didn’t knock it out of the park as a brand new mom.
  • I didn’t get the great feedback I was expecting.

And what came out of these failures?

  • I practiced harder.
  • I kept learning.
  • I gained experience.
  • I pivoted.
  • I grew.
  • I kept trying.
  • I didn’t give up.

So…are these actual failures? Or did they just feel like they were? Because when you look at what failure builds, it’s far more impressive than the failure itself!

“Here’s the thing,” I told her.  “I’m grateful for my failures.”  She looked at me like I had two heads and flames shooting out of my ears.   “No really,  I’m grateful to have failed,”  I reiterated.  “Not because it wasn’t hard – sometimes it felt like the worst thing ever!  But because I came out on the other side of it even stronger.”  Strong and with renewed confidence. And THIS, my friends…this is golden!  After all, this is the goal, right?  To raise strong, confident girls.

confident girls, raising confident daughters, growth mindset, failure to success

The question, then, is if failure is inevitable, how do we leverage it into an experience that will help our girls grow?

How do we build success from failure? On the one hand you don’t want to be the parent who swoops in and fixes everything before they’ve had a chance to experience anything.  On the other, you don’t want to stand by and let them fall flat on their face!   We’ve all heard of ‘helicopter’ parents – the ones who hover over their kids and make sure everything is ‘just so.’   But have you heard of ‘bulldozer’ parents?  The ones who basically clear a path, pushing any obstacles out of the way so their kids can just breeze through unscathed.  Powerful visual, right??

So what’s the key to turning failure into a ‘growth experience’?

Here are 5 ways to turn failure into success and opportunity for your girls:

  1. Show your girls that they’re made to do hard things! Do things that scare you, talk to them about it, show them that you persevered and came out on the other side stronger, more confident and ready to tackle even more things! (This is just one of the ideas I touch on in my Lessons from a #Momboss blog post on Thrive Global.)
  2. Allow them to fail.  Failure IS NOT a bad thing!! Ever heard of ‘failing forward’? Making failure an opportunity rather than a negative can change their mindset, and changing their mindset is critical to growing confidence. (Check out all of my mindset resources for young girls here!)
  3. Don’t clear the path so obstacles never creep up and failures never happen.  Instead, make sure that when they do happen you’re there to offer unconditional support.  Allow her to tell you what she thinks happened and why.
  4. Listen to what SHE thinks may be possible solutions and watch her decision-making abilities in action.   Then cheer her on as she implements them and help her along if she needs it.
  5. When she does overcome it (and she will!!), C-E-L-E-B-R-A-T-E! Cue the confetti! This is a real win in my books!

The more practice our girls have in overcoming obstacles and reaching goals, despite the failures, the more confident they will become and the better they will be at handling future ‘snags’ and ‘re-directions’!  And really, that’s what failures are – opportunities for them to grow and develop, evaluate their decision-making, build their confidence, and ask themselves  ‘why is this happening FOR me?’

Let their failures be the building blocks they are meant to be. Let’s help them recognize that they can turn their failure into success. Trust me, she will be grateful for her failures one day too!!

Drop your email below if you’d like to join my community of moms, working to kick the girlhood overwhelm and anxiety so our young girls will thrive!

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