Episode 50, When Your Child Makes a Mistake
In This Episode:
Mistakes are part of our humanness. They are bound to happen from time to time. In fact, they need to happen for us to grow. For our kids, allowing them to make mistakes can make all of the difference.
As parents, it is helpful to allow our children’s mistakes to teach them about life.
It can be difficult, though. Especially, if you are in a rush and you need to get out of the door for school (okay this can be tough!), you may be tempted to just tie their shoes yourself, or dress them yourself, or make the bed yourself so it’s not so messy, or stick with the food that they are comfortable with ... the list can go on and on talking about how we’re busy and we don’t want to cause a scene and how everyone benefits, if we choose leads you down a path of least resistance. I know some of these because I’ve been there. Parenting can be exhausting and feel defeating sometimes. I’m not saying you need to never help your kid again. But rather, grasp those opportunities to learn and grow from messes and mistakes when possible.
If you are in a rut of doing everything for your child, give own self-permission to be human. Small tweaks over the course of time can make all the difference. With a positive attitude. .. and lots of EMPATHY. It may sound something like this, “It must’ve been really hard to have done your project and then not have it in class. I know how hard you worked on it.”
Beware of the temptation for sarcasm here. If you connect with your child in an empathic way that leaves them feeling like “my mom or my dad gets it. I’m not gonna let this happen again.”
“When the student is ready, the teacher will teach.” – Zig Ziglar
When children are allowed to make mistakes and learn from their experience, the cognitions (aka “thoughts”) that are embedded in their self-perception are I am capable, I am competent, I can do difficult things, It's okay to try, as well as several other helpful ways to feel.
The only people that make mistakes are the ones that don’t try.
Some opportunities to make mistakes are to learn how to tie shoes, make lunches, forget homework, lose a friend due to behavior, and a gazillion other ways.
One of the huge benefits of making mistakes, especially for children, is that they get a chance to hone and develop their problem-solving skills. Think of it like muscles – how will they ever get strong if you don’t use them, or, if you let them lay dormant for a while.
Letting our children make mistakes is actually a HUGE gift to them.
This topic lends itself to the area of high expectations. Les Brown said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.” This is so true. If we hold our kids to high expectations such as doing chores, reading a book every 2 weeks, applying for the scholarships, eating their vegetables, messing up their Science project, then we are sending the message of “I believe in you.” And, then in turn, they have permission to believe in themselves.
Remember, as we raise these small human beings that we refer to as our kids, we are given opportunities to help them be the best that they can be. So rushing their homework or lunch to school that they forgot or allowing them to sit in front of the video games all weekend disconnected from family and life because they’ve had a difficult week, is not helping them at all. It actually hinders them.
I’ve told the butterfly story before, but I’m going to mention it here too because it is so related.
I first heard this story in my Child Parent Relationship Therapy training.
So, as Mrs. Frizzle used to say in the Magic School Bus episodes... “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.” This will allow your children to dare to dream and actually have the confidence and courage to follow their dreams.
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