Little girl reacting to mistake

“You will only fail to learn, if you do not learn from failing” Stella Adler

As the year draws to a close it is important to help our children reflect not only on all they have accomplished and achieved, but also on the mistakes they have made this year and to help them learn from these.

Too often society pressures us (and our kids) into believing that we have to be perfect, but learning from our mistakes helps to develop the coping skills we will need to overcome difficult times in the future.  Helping children learn from their mistakes strengthens their resolve to get it right and builds their confidence in their own abilities.  It helps them feel equipped and competent and teaches them how to deal with anger and frustration.  Similarly, helping children learn from their mistakes motivates them to try new approaches and in so doing develops their creative thinking skills.

Here are some ways in which you can help you child learn from their mistakes:

  • Reinforce the message that you love them even though they make mistakes or might have lapses in judgement
  • Encourage you children to take responsibility for their own mistakes and not to blame others.
  • Don’t give in to the temptation to rescue them from the consequences of their mistakes, but rather help guide them toward a solution by asking questions such: “How do you think that makes you friend feel?”, “What might help to make him feel better?”, “What could you do to fix it?”
  • Tell them about times when you have made mistakes, what the consequences of these mistakes were and what you learned from them
  • Symbolize the process of moving on from their mistakes.  A beautiful ritual that may help you d this is to have them write their mistakes and regrets onto a piece of paper  and have them throw the paper into a fire or dustbin. This activity works particularly well as a  New Year’s eve ritual or before the start of of a new school year, but can be done at any time when your child seems to really need it in order to move on.