Teaching Kids to Learn From Their Mistakes

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How to Teach Kids to Learn From Their Mistakes without Getting Frustrated

by Jennifer Shakeel

Turn a "can't do it" into a "can do it" learning opportunity

Turn a "can't do it" into a "can do it" learning opportunity

Although we as parents often wish to shield our child from the frustration and disappointment of making mistakes, it's important to realize that making mistakes is part of an important learning process in life. No matter how hard we might try to always do things right, making mistakes is one thing that is always part of life, regardless of whether we are young or old. It is important to teach a child that making a mistake isn't fatal, and that they can use mistakes as a way of learning to find better ways to be successful.

Children often become very disappointed and discouraged when they fail at something or make a mistake. For example, if a child doesn't do well at a school play audition or makes errors that prevent them for being selected for the baseball team, they sometimes can interpret the mistakes they made as failure, or as a sign that they aren't any good at these types of activities. As parents, we need to be able to show a child that when they make a mistake, this is simply an opportunity to learn.

As parents, there are a number of different ways we can help our children learn from their mistakes. When they make a mistake, instead of chastising them and telling them what they did wrong, instead we should be having a discussion with them concerning what they think went wrong, and how they think they could avoid a similar mistake from happening in the future. We need to make sure they realize that almost any mistake can be fixed, so that they don't fear making future decisions. We should also be having a discussion with them regarding what they feel they have learned from the situation.

If this is all done in a positive and encouraging fashion, your child will learn that making a mistake doesn't automatically mean that they have failed. Additionally, learning how to deal with their own mistakes can also make them more understanding of the mistakes that are made by other people. After all, everybody makes mistakes.

Another way you can help your child deal with making mistakes is to teach them that it is better to just admit their mistakes and find a way to make them right, instead of trying to hide their mistakes. It's important to work with your child so that they understand the different ways that mistakes can be fixed. It can sometimes be difficult for a young child to realize that mistakes can be corrected. You can help your child avoid a lot of future frustration in life if you can work with them now so that they can learn to fix what can be fixed, without obsessing and worrying over what they can't change.

Another way we can help our child learn to deal constructively with mistakes is to avoid the temptation to be overly dramatic about the mistakes that they might make. Children can read too much into our own upset, and as a result, they can get the feeling that the mistake that they made is much worse than what it really is.  Children learn by example, so if we can demonstrate the proper responses to mistakes, they will be able to model their own behavior and expectations after our own.

Jennifer Shakeel is a writer and former nurse with over 12 years medical experience.  As a mother of two incredible children with one on the way, I am here to share with you what I have learned about parenting and the joys and changes that take place during pregnancy. Together we can laugh and cry and rejoice in the fact that we are moms!

No part of this article may be copied or reproduced in any form without the express permission of More4Kids Inc © 2009 All Rights Reserved

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