(As published in South Morning China Post, April 2016)

In a pressurised environment such as Hong Kong, it is all too easy to drive our children to succeed without reflecting on other skills they require to become successful and happy in the world. Mistakes are essential to learning and growth; it is what we do with those mistakes and how we learn from them that makes us who we are today, and as a person.  Children need the same experience of failure and mistakes to learn from them.  Give your child space to express, find out about themselves and how they manage potential fears they may have of failure.


In my recent blog post Meet Hong Kong’s Youngest Entrepreneurs, we met some very talented young entrepreneurs.  Following on from the article we look at the possible fear of failure.

Entrepreneurship can teach children a range of skills from creativity to critical thinking and problem solving, yet there are potential challenges for young people and their parents, according to a clinical psychologist.

Dr Quratulain Zaidi said starting a business posed an opportunity for Hong Kong children to use their imagination in an environment that has become too focused on academic results, but that children may struggle if they face failure.


“Kids don’t know how to deal with setbacks, [so] helping your child to work through the setback is an amazing opportunity for learning.” Zaidi said.

Hong Kong is already a pressured environment, especially within the expat community, Zaidi warned, as children of high achievers are expected to reach similar goals.

When a young person does find success in business, that child may feel pressure and anxiety to repeat or extend that milestone, Zaidi said.

This potential cause of stress makes it important for parents to talk to their children and help out when needed.

For parents, a child’s interest in entrepreneurship can also be a learning point if they choose to step back and allow their offspring to do things their own way.

“We are a generation of parents who think that we are essential,” she said. “We have to constantly be present … and make everything right for them, so they never learn how not to succeed sometimes.”

Chicky Bhavnani, mother of 10-year-old Kamakshi Bhavnani who runs a club for kids called Lil’ Explorers and is now working on an “Uber for food” business concept, said she now gives her daughter the space to express her creativity.

“I don’t get myself involved in [Lil’ Explorers] at all because when I’ve seen her do creative stuff, it is always when she’s done it alone,” she said.

Read the original article HERE.

Dr. Quratulain Zaidi (BSc. Hons, MSc, MSc, PhD) is a mother and a member of the British Psychological Society and British Association Counselling & Psychotherapy and abides by the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychology. She has lived in Hong Kong and Singapore for 12 years.  She specialises in assisting families with issues including parenting, teen issues, Cybersafety,  marriage guidance, post natal depression, stress and anxiety disorders, depression, bullying, eating disorders, OCD and self-harm. She is an expert in educational assessments and learning challenges in children, for example ADHD, ADD, Dyslexia and ASD.