Recently three parents came to me complaining about their kids being naughty and taking a keen interest in home-related chores. I simply ask them how they handled the situation when their kids made mistakes? Two out of three parents confess that they use force by scolding their children or by using rough language; even one parent stated that she even swears her kids while scolding them. First of all, it is important to know that children, during their adolescence period, learn from their mistakes. Most adults understand this concept. We have failed to teach our children that there is a positive side to getting things wrong.
Nowadays, parents and teachers struggled to make children perfect in every discipline, from high test scores to get into the best university with prestigious scholarships etc. Amongst all these struggles of becoming the perfect citizen of the society, children’s focus on learning somewhere lost or ignored or maybe misunderstood. An article published in Scientific American Journal highlights that if we drill children over and over again with the same math or science problem, they will eventually remember the answer. And if they are lucky, they will remember the answer on a standardised test.
However, I mentioned in my previous article To Protect Children’s Future; Parents Should Stop Protecting Them from Failure that this approach to learning assumes that if students are allowed to make mistakes, they will not learn the correct information which is an incorrect assumption. Studies have found that learning from mistakes enhances rather than detracts from learning. Carol Dweck, a professor at Stanford, studies the importance of challenging children to learn from mistakes. Her research shows that praising children for their intelligence can actually make them less likely to persist in the face of challenge. Admire and motivates children, who are learning from their mistakes. However, praise should focus on developing their character strengths, helping them understand their internal abilities instead of ignoring their bad habits and traits.
There ways through which we, parents and teachers, can help children and teenagers to learn from their mistakes. Some of the important pointers are as follows:
- Let them know that you don’t expect them to be ‘perfect’.
- Show that your love is unconditional and non-judgemental, whether they made mistakes or not.
- Don’t rescue kids from their mistakes. Instead, focus on the solution.
- Provide examples of your own mistakes, the consequences, and how you learned from them.
- Encourage children to take responsibility for their mistakes and not blame others.
- Avoid pointing out your child’s past mistakes in front of others or any family members.
- Admire children for their ability to admit their mistakes.
- Admire children for their efforts and courage to overcome setbacks.
- Mentor your child on how to apologise when their mistakes have hurt others.
As a human everybody needs encouragement to learn, develop and succeed in every path of their lives. Positive words from parents, teachers, and mentors during difficult learning challenges is essential for children’s growth and development. Good luck!