Anike Afolabi: 5 Principles To Teach Your Child Who Has Made a Mistake
Life can’t be as perfect as we often desire it to be. There will be ups and downs, successes and failures, mistakes and rightness, pain and relief, etc. And, the beauty of living is in being able to handle the highs and the lows – because both are life essentials.
However, as parents, if we are not careful, we can make our children feel that the ‘lows’ shouldn’t be a part of life, that they are supposed to be on the ‘highs’ always. Our actions and words could imply- ‘It’s not ok to make mistakes; you are meant to be right 100% of the time’. The danger in this is that we raise children who don’t know how to pick themselves up from life’s lows.
Truly successful people have often had to pick themselves up from even more life lows than the average person. And, we often find most fascinating the ‘rags to riches’ or ‘against all odds’ stories, may be because there’s something in us all that acknowledges the opportunities life’s lows present to achieve greatness and do the seemingly impossible.
So, how can we equip our children to rise above mistakes and failures, to soar to success regardless of what they go through?
Below are certain principles we can teach them:
Even when you fail, there’s something you’ve done right, recognise it.
Let’s teach our children that regardless of the outcome, there must be something they did right in the process. They should recognise it, pat themselves on the back for it and keep doing that in relevant situations. Inventors know that the key to great discovery is identifying what’s been done right, regardless of failure, so it can be built on.
There’s something you did wrong, recognise it
Encourage your children to always identify what they did wrong, why it wasn’t suitable for the purpose they wanted to accomplish, and know when not to do such again.
It’s ok to start again
Our children should be made to understand that not every failed attempt should be retried, especially if it reveals that certain things are not meant for us. But if it is a path they want to continue on, then it’s ok to start again. They have what it takes to pick themselves up and start again. They should recognise what to do better this time and do it.
What did the mistake reveal?
Every mistake reveals something. Teach your children to ask vital questions about their experiences; questions like – What did I discover about myself? What should I have done? What do I need? What am I missing?
Have a sense of humour
Here’s a great lesson to teach our children- It’s ok to laugh at yourself and situations. Don’t be too hard on yourself; even the best of us sometimes make mistakes. It is part of living and learning. Having a light attitude helps you to better assess the situation and see the things you should see. Staying gloomy doesn’t help anyone see the way forward. Humour makes it all easier to bear.
In conclusion, be willing to admit your mistakes, even as a parent. Show them what it means to learn from a mistake. Keep a sense of humour. Pick yourself up when you fail. Count your blessings. Always see what you’ve done right.
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