NFL star Tom Brady doesn't mind if his children experience failure.
During a Jan. 23 episode of his podcast “Let’s Go,” the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback and father of three shared his parenting advice with co-host Jim Gray.
“In life, you try a lot of things, and you fail. It’s part of life,” Brady, 45, explained. “We try things, we really push ourselves to try something new, and it doesn’t go the way we want. So what do you do? Do you care less? Do you care more? Or do you take that experience for what it was and then you try to learn from it and grow from it and find the resilience that we all want to teach our children?”
Brady shares son Benjamin, 13, and daughter Vivian, 10, with ex-wife and supermodel Gisele Bundchen. The former couple wed in 2009 and announced their divorce in October 2022, both vowing to make their children a top priority. Brady also shares 15-year-old Jack with his former partner, actor Bridget Moynahan.
"I don’t want it to go right for my kids all the time," Brady continued on the podcast. "I told them that this morning — I said, ‘I want you guys to fail because I want to see what you’re made of if you fail and when you fail.’ Because life isn’t gonna be just a smooth ride, so we gotta develop resiliency. You know, schools teach that, sports teach that, a lot of things are taught through that."
When Gray asked if Brady's children are "afraid" to fail, he replied, "I think naturally it’s probably hard for everyone in our society right now to feel like you can fail or you can say the wrong thing. There are heavy repercussions to even admitting that you failed."
The athlete says he encourages his children to try their hardest without the pressure of winning or losing, adding, "We’re all cool with that if you did your best."
According to Francyne Zeltser, the clinical director of psychology, training and special projects at Manhattan Psychology Group in New York City, Brady's advice is realistic.
"It sounds like Tom Brady wants his children to learn from their experiences versus his own," she tells TODAY.com. "That makes sense."
“The reality is, not everyone is good at everything,” Zeltser notes. "If everything goes smoothly for kids all the time, they won’t identify their strengths and weaknesses, which can be areas of growth or learning experiences."
Zeltser points out that "failure" is a tricky word because of its seeming finality.
"The word can be a thinking trap, suggesting that someone is either successful or a failure," she explains. "However, life often happens in that gray area."