Train Your Children To Learn From Their Mistakes
Strategy number four is to train your children to learn from their mistakes.
It seems like a natural instinct for moms and dads to want to protect their children from the pain of making mistakes and what happens is we start telling them what to do all the time.
“No, don’t do it this way, do it that way.”
Or… “No, no, don’t do it like that, you’re going to hurt yourself.”
Or… “Don’t handle the dishes like that, you’re going to break them.”
Whatever it is, we start telling them what to do and what not to do. And this escalates over time into always telling them what to do; otherwise they will not know what to do on their own.
Some great examples of this are telling the child to go put on a jacket because it’s cold outside and we don’t want them to get cold. Or, pleading with them to eat all their dinner because we don’t want them to go to bed hungry. Or, fighting with them night after night to go to bed on time because we don’t want them to be tired at school the next day. And what this does is it creates a pattern of dependence on the part of the child for the parent to be constantly telling them what to do.
However, what if they were allowed on their own to discover the natural consequences of not wearing a jacket when it’s cold outside? Or, how it feels to go to bed hungry because they did not eat their dinner? Or, being exhausted at school because they stayed up too late?
And, if you allowed your child to do that, soon what they would discover on their own is that when it’s cold outside, I’m going to wear a jacket because I don’t want to be cold and so I’m going to choose to put on my own jacket. Or, I’m going to finish all my dinner because I don’t like going to bed hungry. Or, I’m going to bed now because I don’t like being tired at school and I really want to have a good day at school tomorrow.
And now the child has their own personal experience from which to choose their own behavior. Now, some parents feel that it’s not responsible to allow their children the opportunity to learn from mistakes. If you feel this way, then ask yourself this… is it better to continue to beg, plead or fight with your children to do something that they don’t understand? Or, is it better for them to develop their own understanding of what needs to be done in certain situations so that you don’t have to keep telling them what to do?
It’s a personal choice that every parent needs to make for themselves. You’ve got to try it out, you’ve got to see what works and what doesn’t work in your own situation. But, if you want the conflict and arguments to stop, I encourage you to try to let your children learn from their own mistakes and natural consequences and see what happens. You might be very pleasantly surprised with the results.