My son is 14 with ADHD and mild depressive disorder and he was losing interest in everything. He was playing basketball and wanted to give it up because he felt he wasn’t good enough and plus the other kids made fun of him. I didn’t force him but told him he HAD to pick another physical activity. It doesn’t have to be basketball, I told him, but he had to do something active and went down a list with him. He tried other sports but ultimately came back to basketball since he knew it and at least had a little confidence he could do it. He asked me to put him in camps over the summer to improve his game. So I did. Then he started to gain more confidence when the coaches approached him to make sure he was going to try out. It helped that others besides his mother were building him up. He grew more confident and is now disciplined again for basketball. He is in the midst of basketball tryouts but so far he says he is a top 5 favorite of the coaches to make the varsity team. He’s happy and motivated again.
So my advice is to go the opposite route. Don’t let them fail but instead show them how to be successful and be their cheerleader along the way. Recruit others to cheer them on as well, especially those that can coach them through mistakes. Most importantly, when they do make a mistake or fail, remind them of the win. My son use to lose all his basketball games when he first started to play. He was sad at first. We talked about what did he like about what the opposing team did or how does he think they won. We used that as a teaching moment rather than stay on the loss. Eventually, a loss didn’t bother him anymore. Now that he’s older, he sees his peers who can’t handle a loss and his coaches have commended him for keeping his emotions under control when everyone else was crying over the loss.
If you haven’t already, start with a real heart to heart about his goals, dreams and desires and let that shape how you will guide him. They need us to set them up for success and sometimes that means we push them beyond their comfort zone, but we need to be sure it’s something they really want first. Of course it can all change, but at least we will teach them to have drive and cope with failures on their own. Good luck!