It’s really hard to watch your kid make mistakes. At least it is for me. When either of my boys makes a mistake, messes up or needs help in anything at all – I’m often torn these days. The mother in me wants to rush to help, but the parent in me knows I need to let them make their own mistakes.
We all learn from our mistakes. Every situation is an opportunity for growth. Obviously there are certain mistakes you want to protect your kids from, such as playing on a busy road or sticking their hand on a hot burner. But in other situations, they’ll learn more if you allow them to discover the consequences themselves.
This is something I didn’t know as a new parent and had to learn as I went along. But then I thought back to my own childhood. How many times had well-meaning adults cautioned me not to do something that I knew full-well not to do (nor did I have intention of doing).
As a parent, I’m learning to let go and let my kids mess up. Maybe you need a gentle nudge also stand back and watch your own kids fall in the little things and mess up, without coming to their rescue. That’s why I created this list of some helpful ways to let go and let them grow.
Here are my best tips to help you be more patient as your child makes mistakes
- Children are children. Because of a child’s age, coordination, lack of judgment, or simplified thought processes, kids are not going to be able to perform a task the way a teen or adult can.
- Children are works in progress. Because they’re developing, learning and growing, each new day provides them with opportunities for success.
Children grow and mature at their own speeds. One child may be able to make his own bed when he’s 5 years old, while another will struggle with this at age 7 and it’s all okay.
- Sometimes when children mess up, they have a natural tendency to want to try again. Because this behavior shows perseverance and great effort, parents can reinforce these positive characteristics by simply allowing them to try the task again.
Showing that you recognize they want to perform goes a long way toward building your child’s sense of self. According to Better Help, a sense of self is defined as one’s perception of oneself and an awareness of who they truly are. Each person’s sense of self is directly related to how they feel about themselves, their levels of self-esteem, and their confidence or lack thereof.
- Learning from trial and error is still learning. If you observe your child trying a task over and over again without frustration, he’s probably learning something on each try.
Think about your own experiences of trying to tie shoes or learning to ride a bike without training wheels. The more you did it, the better you got at it.
If he becomes frustrated by trying to many times. Applaud your child’s perseverance and remind him he can always try again later.
- There are other things more important than doing a job “right.” So what if, when your child is done making the bed, the bedspread is crooked? If you consider what matters most, you’ll come up with some characteristics your child demonstrates that you can be proud of.
- Your child’s self-esteem depends on your reactions. How you react when your child makes a misstep shows him what you think and believe about him.
When it comes to a child’s self-esteem, allowing him to mess up at something while at the same time, accepting him the way he is, sends powerful messages of unconditional acceptance and that you really love your child. Read this post for 30 Extremely Easy Ways to Show Your Child Love.
- Provide encouragement when your child struggles to perform. Since most tasks have various parts to them, look for the portion of the task that your child did well. Tell him he did a good job on that aspect.
Acknowledge the task is difficult and that he’ll eventually catch on and do the whole task well.
- Avoid generating or expressing strong emotions related to your child’s blunder. It’s wise to remain neutral and objective when speaking to a child about his performance of a task.
- If you find yourself feeling frustration or anger about your child’s mistakes, it’s best to give yourself a “time out.” Go to the bathroom, step outside for a brief moment to recollect yourself.
Making it okay for your child to make mistakes will go a long way toward solidifying his sense of self and building his self-esteem.
Because of your approach, they’ll also embrace life with optimism, perseverance and feelings of confidence. Plus they may be more apt to come to you when they have a real problem.