Teaching Your Child to Deal with Mistakes
Parents often find it hard to watch their children fail and commit mistakes. But everyone commits mistakes, and you can’t protect your kids from the resulting dissatisfaction, aggravation, and self-doubt. Instead, you can teach them strategies like the ones mentioned below to help them handle their mistakes creatively and healthily.
Set an Example
You could set yourself up as an example of a person who makes mistakes and knows how to handle them appropriately. Your child may look up to you as a superhero who’s perfect and simply can’t fail. You can break this myth by showing your child how everyone, including you, can commit mistakes. Acknowledge your mistakes freely before your child, and teach how to own up your mistakes or dismiss them as insignificant by literally laughing at them.
Refrain from criticizing yourself or displaying other negative behaviors. Instead, behave in a manner that you want your child to imitate when he commits mistakes.
Point Out That Mistakes are Our Teachers
Help your child understand that mistakes offer valuable learning opportunities to build and become better. When your child commits a mistake, ask what lessons he learned from it and how he will use the experience to act differently in the future.
Kelly Holmes, who wrote Happy You, Happy Family, altered her daughter’s attitude about spelling words with a simple act of high-fiving her any time she spelled a word incorrectly and encouraging her by saying that she was learning. It boosted her daughter’s confidence and pushed up her spelling test scores.
Focus On the Power of ‘Yet’
If your child says that he’s unable to carry out something, finish his sentence using the word ‘yet,’ such as asking if he can’t do it yet. The word ‘yet’ is powerful as it helps your child believe he can do it in the future. You need to teach your child that he can be successful with his hard work and continuous practice despite occasional mistakes.
Once your child understands this concept, he’ll display a more positive attitude toward his mistakes and his own abilities.
Find Real-Life Examples of Celebrated Individuals Who Committed Mistakes
Highlight the idea that every person commits mistakes by finding real-life examples of successful and celebrated people who failed. For example, Thomas Edison made more than 10,000 prototypes and failed before successfully inventing the electric light bulb. Michael Jordan failed to get a spot in his high school Varsity basketball team when he attempted for the first time. Author of the bestselling Harry Potter series – J.K. Rowling, faced rejection 11 times before her manuscript was published.
What if Edison gave up on the 9,999th attempt? Or if Jordan thought he wasn’t good enough to play the game? Or if Rowling quit after her 11th rejection?
All these examples will make your child realize that committing mistakes isn’t the end of the world, and making a mistake in the past doesn’t mean he would be ultimately unsuccessful.
These strategies, accompanied by your unconditional love and support, will help your child accept mistakes as a crucial component of the learning process and manage them suitably.